I have been wanting to share this cheese pastry recipe for some time, it is a family favourite and a great party recipe to have up your sleeve – even if it is a bubble party for two.
Brilliant at any time it is also great for times like these when we are looking to stay home and use store cupboard items and foods that are already in our refrigerator. This is a practical and delicious way to use up left over pieces of hard cheese lurking in the refrigerator, allowing us to do the right thing – stay home- and serve up delicious comfort food at the same time.
The dough can be customised, with the weights of cheese, flour, seeds etc that you have to hand. It doesn’t need to be fancy or for a special occasion either!
The crackers are definitely popular here and often disappear as simple snack food throughout the day.
The dough/pastry is quickly made in a food processor and can both be made to fit the purpose using preferred cheeses or as an isolation special with cheese ends from your refrigerator – any hard’ish cheese will work whether tasty, edam, gruyere or cheddar – and using those flours and seeds already in your pantry. They can also be specifically made with your favourite harder style cheese such as blue vein cheese (leave the lovely soft ones to eat another day). They will be perfect to go with (fresh or grilled) end of summer fruits, fruit pastes and deli meats such as prosciutto, parma or salami on a platter. Also, you can use parmesan cheese to go on a platter with anything -olives, onion jam, walnuts and honey, meats …The choice is yours and doesn’t need to be limited to those I have mentioned.
You can top them with any different seeds that you have on hand or feel like – such as Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds, Poppy seeds, black and or white Sesame seeds.
I also vary the flour I use and will mix in some wholemeal or rye flour with the white flour to make them slightly healthier and add texture. I haven’t tried gluten free flour but I am fairly confident they would work as well as the newer ones cook in a very similar way to traditional flours. I am also going to try and harvest some of the seeds from spring onion and fennel that have gone to seed in my garden and use them as well to top my crackers or roll the pastries in.
This pastry is so versatile it would be a shame not to give it try! It can be rolled out into crackers, moulded into mini muffin pans and filled with the likes of onion marmalade, fruit paste and more cheese… or simply flattened in your hand to encase an olive, pickle, chilli or nut and rolled back together into a ball.
Pre heat oven to 170’c
The weights given are a suggestion – the idea is that you will use equal weights of cheese and butter and then a slightly larger amount of flour. The original recipe (given to me by my amazing mother-in-law Gwyneth), stated equal weights of cheese, butter and flour but I find it is better with slightly more flour – but no more than 10-20 grams more.
Today I made a single trays worth of Parmesan cheese crackers with the ingredients below
- 150 grams parmesan cheese – roughly chopped
- 150 grams butter roughly chopped (room or fridge temperature)
- 160 grams flour – I used 100 grams organic white flour and 60 grams organic wholewheat flour)
- Extra flour for rolling
- Optional – Pinch cayenne pepper (sometimes I will add dry mustard powder, or other dry flavour mixes)
- Seeds to sprinkle on top
Start by putting your parmesan into the food processor bowl and pulse until finely chopped.
Add your flour, butter and cayenne to the processor and pulse until it comes together in clumps as shown in the photos.
Throw a handful of flour on to your bench and tip your dough out.
Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball.
This is where you can play and think about options. Today I used a rolling pin and rolled them into a thin sheet. But, you could flatten them in your palm and stuff them … or get creative and put your own ideas and ingredients to use!
You can cut the edges to re-roll if you like straight lines or proceed to sprinkle over your chosen seeds and give a light roll to push them onto the dough.
Cut into desired sizes and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray – they will spread a little so make sure you allow space between them.
Cook for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. If you have made balls or little mini muffin savouries I would advise an extra five minutes cooking.
Cool on a rack and either eat now or store in an airtight container for later.
When the time is right make a platter for two and pour the wine, and at least today in our bubble we can have them all to ourselves. The hardest choice will be which wine to serve?