Gruyère and Poppy Seed Crackers

Following last weeks National Cupcake Week, this week is National Cheese I'm not going to celebrate every National such-and-such Week but it's cheese week! I can't let a week of cheese go by without a little celebration.

A celebration of cheese! If you have had the awesome pleasure of reading The Simple Things magazine, a new magazine that came out earlier this month, there is a superb article in there about a cheese mongers. It makes great reading and teaches you loads about the beauty of cheese. The new issue is out next week I think so try and catch the latest one before then. 

I mentioned in my last post that we went to The Cake and Bake Show at the weekend. I enjoyed the show, we got to see Tom Herbert - of The Fabulous Baker Brothers - do a demo along with Paul Hollywood, Mitch Turner and Paul A. Young. There were a couple of bad points I've heard echoed around twitter and facebook, that the show was too busy and a little too focused on sugarcraft. I knew it would be busy, there's not much that can be done about that, and I do love some sugarcraft but I had hoped there'd be a bit more about baking. Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable day and I think they'll take on a lot of the comments put forward ahead of the Manchester show next April. I would recommend going as I reckon it will be even better next time.

These crackers are so good. They would be excellent if you were looking after kids or wanted to do some baking with kids because they are so simple to make. I had everything lying around in the fridge or pantry except for the cheese. 

Did I mention how good they are? Gruyère is such a great cheese for baking. It goes so well with pastry and bread. Have you ever seen Pushing Daisies? Do you remember when Charlotte Charles puts gruyère in the crust of the apple pie she bakes for her aunts? I've been itching to make that pie ever since. I absolutely loved Pushing Daisies. I still can't believe they cancelled it! Luckily I have them on DVD so whenever I need a pie fix I stick that on the TV. 

I went slightly off on a tangent there but the point it...gruyère is good. You don't need a lot for this recipe, I got 100g for £1.05 at the supermarket so it's not a really expensive cheese. Cheddar would work as well but it doesn't have the same nuttiness. 

I cut these in to simple square shapes but you can use any shape cutter, star shapes would be great for little ones. Store them in an airtight container and they should keep for a few days. 

Gruyère and Poppy Seed Crackers
(adapted from Joy the Baker)

130g plain flour
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
15g butter, cold and cut into 6 small chunks
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
90ml semi-skimmed milk + extra for brushing
50g gruyère, grated (+ extra for the top, optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 C.  Sift the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter and, using your fingers, rub into the flour until you reach a breadcrumb-like consistency.
  2. Stir in the poppy seeds and the grated gruyère.
  3. Add the milk and mix to make a stiff dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 8×10-inches.  Cut into squares, roughly 2x2 inches.
  4. Place the dough squares on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with extra cheese, or leave plain on top, depending on your preference.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp but still pale.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.