Carta di Musica with Cheddar-Cornichon Butter and Ham

SERVES: 10-12, makes 6-8 large crackers

I don't know why it has taken me so long to grate cheese into butter but I can tell you one thing-I'm not stopping anytime soon. The cheddar cornichons butter that gets slathered all over these quick and easy homemade crackers would be equally incredible shmeared on a baguette sandwich, so don't stop here. You can make the dough up to 2 days in advance before baking the crackers, just keep it tightly covered and chilled in the fridge before use!

Active Time: 50 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins

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Produce

  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary

Pantry

  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups semolina flour (fine)
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 6 ounces cornichons (10 pieces)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Dairy

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces total) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar

Protein

  • ¾ lb very thinly sliced cooked ham

1. Make the dough:

  • Strip the leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary. Finely chop-you should have between 2 teaspoons and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment, or a large bowl if you are kneading by hand, combine 1¼ cups all purpose flour, 1¼ cups semolina flour, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and chopped rosemary.
  • With the paddle working on medium low speed, or slowly stirring with a wooden spoon, drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil, followed by ⅔ cup plus 3 tablespoons warm water.
  • Once the dough comes together in a mass, continue kneading on medium (or transfer to your work surface and knead by hand) for 6 minutes. The dough should be tacky and spring back slowly when pressed in with a finger. Lightly cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. (You can make dough in advance up to 48 hours ahead and keep covered in plastic wrap in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before rolling out.

2. Prep the oven:

  • Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven, upside down (we'll use this as a cooking surface). You can also use a pizza stone.
  • Preheat the oven to 450.

3. Roll and Bake:

  • Once rested, tear off a large golf ball-sized piece of the dough. Using a rolling pin or wine bottle, stretch and roll the dough as thinly as possible. The dough should be juuuust barely opaque, but almost transparent.  The shapes will be all amorphous and whacky and that's the point, don't go for a perfect circle here.
  • Working one at a time, open the oven, pull out the bottom rack so you can access it more easily and in one swift motion lay the rolled-out dough on the surface of the baking sheet or stone. Close the oven and cook, flipping the cracker halfway through, until golden brown, burnished in spots, and crisp, 6-8 minutes (depending on what type of stone or sheet you are using). The longer the baking sheet has preheated in the oven, the faster it will cook.
  • Let cool, and repeat with the remaining dough. Once all the dough is baked, lightly brush the tops of each cracker with olive oil, and season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. Make the cheddar-cornichon butter and serve:

  • In a medium bowl, mash up 2 sticks of softened unsalted butter.
  • Grate 8 ounces cheese (2 ½ cups grated ) on the large holes of a box grater, right into the bowl of butter. Using your fork, work and mash the two together to incorporate the cheese into the butter. If your butter is a little cold and resisting the meld, give it a few seconds of heat in a microwave.
  • Finely chop 6 ounces of cornichons, and add to the butter mixture, again mashing well to incorporate. Season with salt.
  • Just before serving, generously shmear some cheddar butter onto each cracker-go for it, be bold, the cheddar butter is where it's at. Tear slices of ham in half and drape over the crackers. Season each cracker with black pepper and then break into large pieces before serving. Repeat with remaining crackers and the rest of the butter and ham! Note: crackers can be made up to a day in advance, just keep them tightly sealed in a Ziploc or resealable container so they don't soften or get stale.

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