These are gluten-free crackers containing only cheese and egg white. My recipe closely follows the Cheese Crackers in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook, which are a component of the Goat Cheese and Lemon Galette (photo pg. 242, recipe pg. 330). I love the clean look of these crackers. I also thought they could be a viable crust for a cheese tart I was hoping to put on a menu this winter. This is a versatile preparation that could serve as a bar snack, a canapé base, or a crispy garnish much like a frico.
While the recipe in the EMP cook book has a good core ingredient ratio and general procedure, when I made the crackers myself there were a few surprises, and I discovered some tricks to get the crackers looking as perfect as they do in the book.
The general procedure is straight-forward. Combine grated cheese and egg in food processor. Process. Pass through tamis. Roll out to 1/16″ thickness between two silicon mats. Par-bake between two sheet trays. Cut to desired shapes, then continue baking between two sheet trays until uniformly golden brown.
Some things I noticed:
- The crackers shrink a bit during the second bake, so it’s important to cut them larger than your desired finishing dimensions.
- Even if you cut them very cleanly with an expandable wheel cutter, the edges will not come out straight after the second bake. However you can use the old pastry trick of shaving them down with a micro plane so the edges are straight and the corners square.
- Another issue I ran into was that even using a Rational the crackers bake unevenly, with the ones nearer the edge of the pan finishing well before those in the centre. The second bake needs to be started and stopped so that the finished crackers can be removed. I then found that a some of the crackers curl as they cool. It’s a bit tedious, but to get the best result I use two sets of trays: one pair for sandwiching the crackers while they bake, and another on the workbench for sandwiching the crackers while they cool.
- I also experimented with different proportions of egg white. Increasing the egg proportion yields a product with a texture more like a tuile and less like a frico.
I have used these cheese crackers in a galette very similar to the one in the EMP cookbook, as well as the aforementioned cheese tart which is basically a larger version of the galette. I’ll post about those shortly!
- 170 g (6 oz) Gruyère, grated
- 3 ea egg whites
- Preheat a convection oven to 300°F (Rational 0% humidity).
- Combine grated Gruyère and egg whites in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Transfer to tamis and pass through with a plastic bench scraper.
- Place a silicon baking mat on the workbench in front of you. Transfer the cheese mixture to the centre of the mat. Place a second silicon baking mat face down on top of the cheese and egg mixture. Use a rolling pin to roll out the cheese mixture into a rectangle 1/16″ thick.
- Transfer the silicon mats to an upside-down steel bake sheet. Place a second steel baking sheet on top of the mats right side up, pressing the cheese mixture in between.
- Bake until cheese mixture is lightly browned but still pliable, roughly 15 minutes.
- Remove top bake sheet and top silicon mat to reveal cheese mixture. Use an expandable wheel cutter to cut cheese mixture into desired shapes. Note that they will shrink a bit more during the second bake.
- Return the top silicon mat and the top bake sheet to the cheese mixture. Return the entire assembly to the oven and bake until cheese crackers are uniformly deep golden brown, roughly 10-15 minutes. Note that the pieces along the edges will finish first and may need to be removed earlier than those in the centre.
- Set another bake sheet upside down on your workbench. Line with parchment or silicon baking mat. As crackers are finished, remove from the oven and place on parchment. Lay another sheet of parchment on top, and lay another bake sheet right-side up on top so that the crackers are pressed as they cool.
- Once all crackers are out of the oven and cooled, use a microplane to straighten the edges and square the corners.
- Store crackers at room temperature in a container with a tight-fitting lid, ideally with a silica gel packet within.