Author Notes: These crackers are adapted from Jody Adams, the chef and owner of Rialto Restaurant in Cambridge, MA.
Making crackers seems daunting, which is why most people pick them up at the grocery store, but these can be whipped up by anyone who can make pie dough. All you do is work 3 ingredients by hand into a firm dough. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible (you should be able to see through it). Lay the dough on a baking stone in a 500-degree oven. Then watch it through the oven door as it puffs and warps and sets to toasty, rigid crispness. The perfect hors d'oeuvre crackers are within reach.
My family has been making these for 20 years, ever since I worked for Jody. At the holidays, we serve them with smoked salmon and this lemon-herb cream. This year, I'm changing to a smoked fish spread. But you might want to pair it with a cheese ball, pate, potted shrimp, rillettes, or pimento cheese. These crackers play nicely and get along with everyone, even dips. —Amanda Hesser
Makes: about 20 crackers
cup semolina flour
cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling the crackers
teaspoon kosher salt
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the flours and salt. Stir in 1 cup water with a wooden spoon, and work into a stiff dough. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until the dough is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Set a baking stone on the lowest oven shelf and heat the oven to 500 degrees. If you don't have a baking stone, set a heavy baking sheet on the shelf.
- Cut the dough into 20 pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap so the dough doesn't dry as you work. Roll each ball into a paper-thin sheet using a rolling pin, and flour as needed. Don't worry about the shape -- you want them to look hand-hewn! Bake them off as you go, laying them on the baking stone (or floured baking sheet), turning them as they bubble and begin to turn color. They're done when they're golden brown on the edges, and crisp, about 3 minutes total. Cool on a wire rack, and continue with the remaining dough.
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