Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cuminseed, Poppy, and Coriander Pumpkin Crackers

 Now 9 months old, Mae is getting much better at eating crackers! It's funny, she's been eating solid foods for three months now, so I shouldn't be surprised that she's making progress-- but since she doesn't have any teeth, I guess I wasn't expecting a huge change in how well she eats certain foods until she sprouted some more chompers. But she still just has the two, and yet is getting better at eating.  She now has the technique down for sucking on these crispy crackers until they are moist enough to break up and swallow.  It takes her a little while, but she perseveres (and it keeps her out of trouble for a few minutes).

These pumpkin crackers don't taste all that pumpkiny-- just a little.  I used banana squash puree; perhaps canned pumpkin puree would give a stronger flavor. In any case, they're a good backdrop for a number of flavors, from sweet pumpkin spices to more the savory.  I chose to go with the savory-- coriander, poppyseed, and cuminseed. Their lovely golden color is a bonus-- I think I know what I'll use when it's time to finally unleash my faux-Goldfish crackers.

Pumpkin Crackers

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1 c. winter squash or pumpkin puree
cumin seeds
poppy seeds
ground coriander

Preheat oven to 375.  In a bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or with your fingers-- you want small pieces, no larger than peas.  Mix in the pumpkin.  Start the process with a spoon, but finish by kneading it in gently with your hands, as the pumpkin needs to get squooshed around to mix in properly-- don't overwork the dough!  Mix until just combined-- it'll be the consistency of a medium-stiff cookie dough. (Note: I used fresh squash puree, so it was a bit wetter than canned pumpkin. Add a little milk if you have difficulty incorporating all of the flour into the dough).  Divide in half, and form each half into a flattened disk.  If you're confident that you didn't overmix, you can roll it out right away-- otherwise, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour just to be on the safe side.  Generously flour a baking parchment or a silpat, and roll out one of the disks as thinly as you can-- 1/16th of an inch of possible, and no more than 1/8 of an inch. Sprinkle the dough with ground coriander, poppyseeds, and cumin seeds-- roll over them gently with the rolling pin to get them to stick. Cut the dough into rectangles using a pizza cutter or, if you're feeling fancy, deploy thematically appropriate cookie cutters (I wouldn't try removing the extra dough from around the shapes, as it's a bit delicate-- leave them in situ and pop them out once they're baked).

                                                                        Just before baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  The trickiest part of this is getting them done just right-- underdone and they're a bit chewey and relatively tough; overdone and they're, well, burnt. I usually take them out at 12 minutes, remove the crackers from the edges that are starting to brown, and return the rest to the oven for 2 minutes, let them brown a bit, repeat the procedure until all of the ones in the center are done properly.  Break them apart once they're cool.  Repeat the procedure with the second disk of dough. Devour.
Variation: Instead of the seeds, add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ginger into the flour mixture. 

Rubbed sage or curry might also be nice mixed into the dough, but I haven't tried them yet. If you do it, let me know how it turns out!

1 comment:

  1. These look great. I will have a go at making them next week. Thank you