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Monday, 16 May 2011

Sluttishly Easy: Parmesan and Poppy Seed Crackers

Crackers were always something to be bought, not made, until I found this delicious and oh-so-simple recipe for Parmesan and poppy seed crackers. I originally thought I'd wheel these out at parties but they're so easy to make - about five minutes work in a food processor - that I happily bake a batch for myself at weekends. These quantities make 20 biscuits but they keep for about two weeks so you could easily double or treble it. Heck, why not quadruple it - they're so moreish that there's no chance there'll be any crumbs left after a fortnight.

You don't need much salt because the Parmesan adds such a strong flavour, while the cayenne provides a lovely gentle warmth. You can add whatever seeds you fancy - I put some sesame seeds in too. You're not going to get perfect discs when you cut them out, so accept their slightly odd shapes and call them "artisanal" if anyone asks. Pop them in a fancy tin and enjoy with a glass of white wine in the evening.

Parmesan and Poppy Seed Crackers (makes 20)

You will need:
  • 110g plain flour
  • 40g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 40g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge, cubed
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 egg, beaten
Make it!
  1. Put the flour, cheese, salt, cayenne pepper and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a sandy beach. Add 2 tbsp of water and pulse again until it starts to come together into a dough.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a log about 4cm in diameter. Wrap it in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 10 minutes while you do the (minimal) washing-up.
  3. Take the dough out, unwrap it, and brush it with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the poppy seeds over a large tray and roll the log in it until thoroughly coated. Wrap it up in clingfilm again and refrigerate for another half an hour while you go the shops for some wine.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Unwrap the dough and cut into thin discs, about 3mm thick, and arrange on the tray. Bake for about 30 minutes or until pale brown. They will be soft and slightly crumbly after this long, so leave for another 5 minutes or so if you prefer them crisper.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Wonder where they've all disappeared to after an hour. Yum.

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