Last Saturday we served these morsels at our dinner as an arrival snack. “Hello. Welcome. Canapé?” They were very well received, almost all were eaten before the entrance to the kitchen and table. There is something excellent about a homemade cracker, it’s just one of those type of things that don’t get made at home very often. It takes things to the next level of yum.
The goats’ cheese they recommend in the recipe is a goats’ cheese gouda, which is a semi-hard goat’s milk cheese. It’s characterised by its surprisingly mild flavour (for a goaty cheese), but the cheese we used was simply the only hard goats’ cheese they had at the deli – and it had a stronger, salty taste. The crackers worked perfectly and were full flavoured using this cheese.
The dough we used last week was in the freezer from December and after thawing it was perfectly malleable, and tasted just as good as the original. Excellent for an impromptu dinner party canapé. We topped each cracker with labne and a confit cherry tomato or fennel, watercress and pear salad. When we made these before Christmas we used a fennel and pomegranate salad. The dry, cheesy, savouriness of the cracker marries well with a bright, fresh salad.
I love the photograph of these crackers, it’s so bright and summery – it makes me feel like we were eating them in Hawaii: if only we had given guests a lei at the front doorstep as well as a cracker.
Goats’ Cheese Crackers with Fennel, Watercress & Pear Salad
Cracker recipe from Flannery Klette-Kolton and Lauren Gerrie, of New York catering company bigLITTLE Get Together.
For the Goats’ Cheese Crackers
1 cup white rice flour
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 packed cup, goat’s milk gouda cheese, grated
½ cup cream
water, as needed
Preheat oven to 150C. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and cheese and pulse to combine. With machine running, add the milk, processing until dough comes together. Chill the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes. Roll out the dough until thin, on a floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut crackers into desired shape. Transfer to baking paper lined baking sheet. Bake, rotating the sheet once, for 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
When cool top of each cracker with the fennel, watercress and pear salad – or if making a day or two in advance transfer to an airtight container. Makes approximately 40 crackers.
For the Fennel, Watercress & Pear Salad
Adapted from Nigel Slater, Kitchen Diaries
1 bulb of fennel
bouquet of watercress
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Pick watercress into dainty sprigs. Slice the fennel as thinly as possible. Slice the pear into thin, cracker sized slices. Toss gently together with enough olive oil to coat and the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt. This is enough salad for one batch of crackers.