Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crousillants (Cheese Crackers)

As guests arrive for dinner, I like to serve a few nibbles to begin an evening of conviviality. A dish of olives and a plate of these crisp cheese crackers is easy and appeals to almost anyone. 

This recipe is taken from the Williams Sonoma Paris book, given to me by Tim who brought it home from San Francisco business trip. The dough can be made ahead and frozen, then baked early in the day. They are addictive little things - consider yourself forewarned.

2 cups shredded Comté or Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
coarse sea salt

In a food processor, combine the Comté, Parmesan, butter, flour and cayenne. Process until combined and crumbly, 40-60 seconds.

Transfer the mixture to a cool surface and pat into a log about 2 inches in diameter. You don't have to be particularly gentle with this dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. Or freeze for longer storage.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap dough and slice into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange on parchment paper lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with the chives, then about 1 teaspoon sea salt. 

Bake the crackers until they are a light, golden brown, 10 -15 minutes, taking care to not let them get too dark. If the edges brown too much the crackers will taste bitter. 

Remove from the oven and serve to your delighted guests.