I’ve had requests from you, dear readers, to include more recipes on the blog and so I shall (especially since the weather here has been so dreary that the idea of hunting for new finds in the city is nearly impossible). My darling husband did return home last week and there was much to celebrate. He became a British citizen last Wednesday and so he was feted with all of his favorite foods. Among those are these little Parmesan Poppy Seed Crackers.
I love savory cookies and have been making them for years (really anything that you normally associate with sweets turned salty is a must-try for me). Martha Stewart makes a lovely blue cheese and pecan version that has been a staple of my catering repertoire and I’ve also made little thyme and gruyere thumbprints with fig jam settled into the little dimple. Basically, what I’m saying is that you can play around with combinations that appeal to you. My newly British husband favors this particular recipe that comes from Ottolenghi’s first cookbook. Apparently, he’s not alone. I see cellophane bags full of these little discs sold at many of the posh food shops around town (and they cost a pretty penny). Although they’re a bit time consuming, no one step takes that long and you’ll have dozens of little salty snacks to impress your guests with, or just eat on the couch as the long winter days ensue.
7.5 oz all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
9 oz grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 lightly beaten egg
Combine the flour, baking powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. In another large bowl (I use my Kitchenaid mixer) blend together the soft butter and parmesan. Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing vigorously until you have a soft dough. Place the dough on a floured surface and just knead it until it is not too sticky to the touch. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll each one into a log that’s about the same diameter as a half dollar coin. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place your poppy seeds on a large baking tray and get your egg wash ready in a bowl with a pastry brush. Take out one log from the fridge, unwrap it and generously coat it with the beaten egg. Now roll the log in your poppy seeds making certain they stick to all sides. Use a new piece of plastic wrap to tightly cover this log and place it back in the fridge. Repeat with the second log. Allow them to sit in the fridge for at least an hour (or you can double wrap and place them in the freezer at this point for use later on – they’re great to have ready to go for when unexpected guests show up!)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and remove one log from the fridge. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the log into slices about 1/4 inch thick and place them on the parchment (allow a little room as they will expand when they cook). Cook for about 12 minutes or until dark brown. Allow to cool before serving (if you can!).