Monday, May 4, 2009

Parmesan-Pine Nut Crackers

Another recipe from one of my current favorite cookbooks ~

Essentially a shortbread recipe flavored with good Parmesan cheese.

I made mine with aged Parmesano Reggiano which is drier than younger Parmesan.

If you use the younger, moister parmesan your crackers will spread more than mine did.

Either way, the flavor and texture is divine ~ perfect with your favorite beverage or as a good offering on the cheese or fruit platter.

In Peggy's version each cracker is adorned with a single pine nut ~ I made some that way, and some with tiny tips of fresh thyme, others with a pinch of Piment d'Espelette (the spicy red pepper powder from the French Basque country.) Since I changed the recipe, I renamed them:

Crisp, Buttery Parmesan Crackers

Makes about 5 dozen depending upon how you slice the crackers, and how thick the logs are.
(I halve the recipe)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayennne pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
60 pine nuts (1/4 ounce)

Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl cream the butter and cayenne together with an electric mixer; add one cup of cheese at a time until all is incorporated and well blended.

Add in the flour mixture and mix well.

Shape the dough into 3 logs, 1 1/2 -inch diameter each. Wrap in plastic cling film and refrigerate until firm.

When ready to bake ~ preheat oven to 400* (F)

Remove one log from refrigerator (keep the others refrigerated until ready to slice and bake), cut the log into 1/4-inch-thick-slices.

Place on ungreased baking sheets, leaving at least 1/2 inch between the slices.

Press a whole pine nut into the center of each slice. Bake until light brown (about 8 minutes.)

These can burn easily so I begin watching them at about 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Delicious freshly baked, or can store in an airtight container.

You can form the cheese dough logs a day or two ahead and simply slice and bake as you want to use them.

If you try them, I hope you like them, too.

Psst... It's a terrific cookbook!
Check it out:

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