Cacio e Pepe Crackers

Cacio e Pepe Crackers
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cheese and pepper crackers
Mmm, crackers!

Here’s another item we made up for that late afternoon reception we mentioned yesterday: cheese and pepper crackers.  Sounds better as Cacio e Pepe, doesn’t it? More elegant, more refined, as though you’ll be eating a cracker that can stand up to the most finicky crowd. Well, we’re not sure if those attending the reception were the most finicky of eaters, and, in the late afternoon, some might have been hungry enough to eat just about anything; however, we can say that every one of these crackers was eaten, and that many people remarked on having a savory snack in the afternoon.

We modified, just slightly, the recipe we found in Edible DIY, by Lucy Baker. Partly to make it even easier to make up, and partly to reduce the amount of pepper — just a bit. If you’re looking for a tasty cracker recipe for a party, this might be it. The dough is made in a food processor in just a few minutes the night before, then it’s refrigerated, and the next day, just sliced and baked.

Makes around 30 crackers

Cacio e Pepe Crackers

Cacio e Pepe Crackers

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 1/4 cup (175g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • 1-2 Tbs ice water

Abbreviated Instructions

Place grated cheese, flour, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine.

Spread chunks of butter over the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter is cut in and the mixture looks like a crumbly meal.

While pulsing, add ice water until the dough comes together in a ball and rides on the blade.

Place dough on a lightly-floured work surface and shape into a square log about 12 inches long. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Slice dough into squares about 1/8-inch thick and place on sheets, separated by about 1/2-inch.

Bake for 20-23 minutes or a light golden brown, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.

Allow crackers to cool on sheets for 5 to 10 minutes before placing on a rack to cool completely.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2013/12/cacio-e-pepe-crackers/

Ingredient discussion:

It’s all about cheese. Pick up a nice tasty aged Pecorino Romano cheese. It should be made from sheep’s milk, and preferably from Italy. Not that you can’t find a good cheese made in the US; it’s just that Pecorino  Romano is one of Italy’s oldest cheeses, so we have to think they’ve learned a thing or two since Roman times (yes, the recipe used today is the same as the one used in ancient Rome).

Procedure in detail:

dry ingredients
With a food processor, you can have the dough ready in minutes!

Combine ingredients. Place the grated cheese, flour, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and give it a few pulses to mix. Our cheese wasn’t pre-grated, so we attached the grating blade to the processor, grated the cheese, then added the other ingredients to make it super simple.

cutting in butter
Drop the chunks of butter over the flour-cheese mixture and pulse to cut in the butter.

Add butter. Distribute the butter over the top of the flour-cheese mixture. Pulse until the butter is cut in and the mixture looks like a coarse meal.

cracker dough
It should look like a coarse meal once the butter has been cut in.

Add water. While pulsing the food processor, add ice water, about a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball and rides on the blade.

Shape. Press the dough together, if needed, and shape into a square log about 12 inches long, working on a lightly-floured surface. We do this by forming a round log, then dropping it on the counter repeatedly to turn the cylinder  squarish-shaped in cross-section.

log of cracker dough
Form the dough into a squarish cylinder so you’ll have crackers that are square.

Wrap and chill. Wrap the log in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

slicing crackers
We sliced ours about 1/8-inch thick, which we think is just right for crackers.

Slice and bake. Slice the log into crackers about 1/8-inch thick. Place on the prepared sheets about 1/2-inch apart, and bake for 20 to 23 minutes or until they’re light golden brown. Watch them carefully towards the end so that they don’t over-bake; that would make them taste bitter.

cracker dough
Place each square on the prepared sheets, leaving a bit of room for spreading.

 

 

cheese and pepper crackers
Mmm. You can use this recipe as a basis for custom crackers, too!

Cool. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Making these crackers is a really easy way to spiff up a tray of snacks. Almost no one makes his or her own crackers these days, but, with a recipe as easy as this, together we can reverse that trend towards those salt-flavored things that come from some corporate bakery. Imagine the possibilities: change up the cheese, use rosemary instead of pepper, and soon you’ll be having crackers that other people can only dream about. That is, of course, until you show them this post so they know how easy it really is! Then it’ll turn into a cracker revolution! Give me a tasty cracker or I’ll go hungry! Five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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