We aren’t really sure what to call these crackers, and we don’t think the title of this post quite describes them very well. Perhaps you have a better suggestion. The idea for the crackers come from Chad Robertson’s new book, Tartine Book No. 3, although the recipe we use is the one we posted as Lavash Crackers. In his book, Chad Robertson shows how to make crispbreads with sliced almonds, herbs, or leaves and flower petals sandwiched inside the crispbread.
It’s a great technique, as it makes the crackers look mighty special, but it also turns out to be remarkably simple and one you can use with many cracker doughs. Or at least with cracker doughs that you can run through a pasta machine. Although, we guess that, with some perseverance, you could make these with a rolling pin.
Makes 4-5 lavash cracker sheets.
If you have a cracker recipe that you like, try it with this technique. Or, if you’re adventurous, try it with pasta sheets. Apparently, pressing herbs between pasta sheets is a technique used in Italy. We’ll be trying it sometime, so you can get a jump on us. For herbs, use what you like, but we think they’ll need to be fresh herbs with thin leaves.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. We use 375°F because that’s what was appropriate for the original recipe; if you use another cracker recipe, you might have to change it.
Roll out dough. Working with about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll the dough out very thinly. We ran it through a pasta machine, starting at the widest setting and working our way down until we had very thin sheets. On our machine, we started at setting 1 and went to 4 (out of 6). Once you have a long, very thin sheet, place it on a lightly-floured work surface.
Layer herbs. Moisten approximately one-half of the sheet of dough. We just ran our hand under the tap and brushed our fingers along half of the dough. That was sufficient. Place the herb leaves (or sliced almonds) on the moistened half so they’re not overlapping. Fold the dry half up and over the herbs and press down to seal.
Re-roll. Since the dough is thicker now, you’ll need to open up the rollers of the pasta machine a bit and work your way back down to a thin sheet. The leaves (or nuts) will break apart under the pressure of the rollers, but they’ll keep their pattern. Keep rolling thinner each time, until the sheets are, once again, very thin. With the sliced almonds, we weren’t able to roll the dough as thin, but that’s how it goes.
Salt. Place the dough sheets on the prepared baking sheets, brush with water, then sprinkle with kosher salt. Or use something like poppy seeds, or sesame seeds, or a combination, but you’ll want to make sure the leaves still show up.
Bake. Slide everything into the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden-brown. The time will depend on how thin you were able to roll out the dough, so watch those crackers carefully. Don’t worry if they aren’t crisp, just as long as they’re golden-brown. We’ll show you how to crisp them up.
Lower oven to 200°F. Remove the crackers from the oven and lower the temperature to 200°F. Let the oven cool down to about this temperature.
Crisp. Place the cracker sheets directly on the oven racks. When you close the oven door, place a wooden spoon between the door and the oven to keep it slightly open (lets the moisture escape), and bake until crisped, about 15 minutes more. The low temperature will drive off the moisture without further baking and browning.
We love this idea! In Tartine Book No. 3, Chad Robertson shows some of his crispbreads made with flower petals and leaves. In the photo, they’re lit from behind, so the purples, blues, golds, and greens light up and remind us of stained glass. It’s worth sneaking a peek at his book just for those alone. We’ll be keeping this technique in mind for all our future crackering (and pasta) adventures. Five stars!