a savory sable

March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I certainly think of making cookies more often than crackers, so this was a good inaugural recipe to make with Abby Dodge’s BakeTogether challenge. Abby offered us her Spicy Parmesan Sables which I turned into Chèvre Emmer Sables with Dried Cherries and Hazelnuts (guess I couldn’t go completely savory yet). My friend Mark and his family live and farm in Colorado’s North Fork Valley. He has a small herd of goats on his very diverse vegetable farm called Thistle Whistle. Besides their weed control and fertilizer duties, the girls produce milk year round, much of which Mark makes into the most delicious raw milk chèvre I’ve ever eaten. The dried cherries came from First Fruits’ orchards last summer at the Boulder farmers’ market; their orchards aren’t too far from Mark’s farm. They were still moist, chewy and delicious! The two other key ingredients came from the Pacific Northwest. The Freddy Guys hazelnuts were a gift from my daughter who lives in Portland, Oregon (hazelnuts are their State Nut!). And as a CSA member I get whole grains or freshly milled whole flours shipped from Bluebird Grain Farms in Washington monthly. Their signature grain is biodynamically grown emmer farro. I enjoy emmer flour’s earthy and nutty flavor in many of my baked goods and it doesn’t have the bitterness you sometimes taste in red whole wheat. Oh, and I used a fresh farm egg from down the street instead of the water to bring everything together!

Chèvre Emmer Sables with Dried Cherries and Hazelnuts (yields about 30 crackers)

scant 1 1/2 cups (7 oz. emmer flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

2 oz. dry chèvre, crumbled

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the mixer bowl and mix briefly. Add the chopped nuts and cherries, mix again. Now add the butter and mix on low speed until the pieces are no larger than peas. Do the same with the chèvre, being careful not to over mix. Finally add the beaten egg and continue to mix until the dough just comes together on the paddle. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and pat into a rectangle of the desired dimensions; mine was about 7 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches and a little over an inch tall. Wrap and chill until firm, overnight is best.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Slice the block into 1/4 inch thick pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Immediately bake one sheet at a time 18-20 minutes or until the crackers are a light brown on the edges. Don’t be alarmed if you see butter sizzling on their surfaces towards the end of baking; these are very rich crackers! Cool completely on the pan and then store in an airtight container. Consume within a week.

This are very flavorful and rich crackers and would be a nice accompaniment for a simple soup or a vinaigrette-dressed salad. They’re a little over the top for a cheese platter. You can find Abby’s original recipe here; this version was a bit salty for my palate, especially if you use a salty cheese. Easy to make, and creating your own variations is so much fun! Thanks, Abby!

I modified Abby’s technique to use my 4.5 quart KitchenAid mixer instead of the food processor. Here’s the dough just before adding the liquid, and then after with a very brief mix on low speed to bring it together.

Use the parchment paper to help you shape the dough into the desired size and shape (you could easily make squares or rounds instead of the rectangles). After an overnight chill, it’s easy to slice for baking.

The butter foams on the surface of the cracker towards the end of baking, but is reabsorbed into the cracker as soon as you take them out of the oven. Yeah, super rich!

Half for us, half for an gift! Probably won’t last long.

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