Peppercorns come in all colors and I just happen to have some pink ones. Their flavor blends perfect with my not so perfect sage that has been waiting to go into some spectacular creation. Someone asked me yesterday how I come up with recipe ideas. Well the truth is, I just take all my favorite foods and combine them…..OK, maybe a little consideration for flavors and the science of the ingredients but basically I think of what I love or what I think my readers, friends or family will love. When I was at the Gibbsville Cheese showroom, Mallory’s mom gave me a container of an Aged Asiago cheese spread by Pine River that she said is one of her favorites. It is one of my favorites now too. So good in fact, that it is worthy of a homemade cracker to make it shine just a little more. The combination of the pink peppercorns, sage and the aged Asiago is so good. The cheese can be mail ordered from Gibbsville Cheese at 920-564-3242 and online at gibbsvillecheese.com. What does cracker pastry dough and bone china have in common? They both have a translucent quality and when bone china is held up to the light you can see your hand through it. Light, crisp crackers start with dough that when held up to the light, shows that same transparency. Below is a photo of the grains and other ingredients ready to be mixed in the food processor. The second photo shows a strip of dough in front of a window to show how thin the dough should be rolled. (Yes that is snow in the background, we have snow about 10 months of the year and the other months just flakes, not enough to call real ‘snow’.)
The maillard reaction is responsible for the browning that takes place while the crackers bake. The browning reaction between the amino acids and reducing sugars in the grains give the crackers a deep, earthy flavor. Research has shown that breads with dark brown crusts gain a wonderful flavor even deep in the center of the loaf. Each cracker gains more flavor as they brown.
These crackers are best when served the day they are made or within a few days.
Cracked Pink Peppercorn and Sage Crackers
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground flax
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pink peppercorns
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
Combine flour, ground flax, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and butter in food processor. Mix 10 seconds or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With unit running, add water. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Form into a ball. Roll out on parchment paper and cut into desired shapes. Top with sage, flax seeds and additional salt and use rolling pin to press mixture into the dough slightly. Carefully transfer parchment paper with crackers to a baking sheet. Bake in preheated 400° oven for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Can be stored up to 1 week in a tightly covered container. Cracked Black Peppercorn and Sage crackers are great served with Asiago Cheese Spread that I got at Gibbsville cheese. Order online at gibbsvillecheese.com