Why would you eat a Jatz craker?

There was a time when in my mind cheese and biscuits was synonymous with cubes of Coon cheese and Jatz crackers. The height of culinary sophistication. Usually accompanied by bright green pickled onions.  Around here people still serve it as well. However we progressed to rubbery Camembert and water crackers quite some time ago. Our exploration of new cheeses continued as we travelled and I read about food and as Sally and Zoe worked in the restaurant industry and taught us a thing or two. Rubbery Camembert has long been a thing of the past. However we continued with mass produced crackers until much more recent times. When Sally was working at Bistro Mont in Bowral we discovered Lavosh and that became our cracker of choice. Very nice, very expensive! About two years ago Ii was shopping in Orange and went to buy some. $5 for a little packet, I thought to myself "I'll bet I could make that" and came home to find there was a recipe in my Margaret Fulton cookbook. Super easy and very cheap! In some Deli's I have seen Lavosh style crackers marketed as "Bark" ie. Sheets of Lavosh, these sell at about $8 a packet, I wonder how that works, more expensive to not cut it up? Mass produced crackers have been a thing of the past in our house ever since.  
This is the Recipe i use. It makes heaps and they store very well.


2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup milk
60g melted unsalted butter.

Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sesame and poppy seeds. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, then the milk and melted butter. Incorporate the flour into the liquid to form a dough.
Knead the dough lightly and wrap in gladwrap and chill for about an hour.
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
cut the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece out as thin as you can into a flat sheet that will fit on your baking tray. Place baking paper on to your trays and then place your pastry sheets on these. Cook for about ten minutes or so, until a nice golden brown, I usually turn mine to get an even colour. Cool on wire racks and store in airtight container once cool. I generally just break mine up into pieces of various sizes.  

For Christmas this year I received four recipe books and one book about cooking and gardening, lucky me. One of the books is Mathew Evans "The Real Food Companion", I have been enjoying his show, The Gourmet Farmer  so was delighted to receive this. He has a recipe for Cheese Biscuits that takes the whole savoury biscuit thing to a new level. In the book he describes them as the "Worlds Best" cheese biscuits. Maybe he is right, Zoe found them pretty irresistible. They are like a shortbread with cheese. So what you do is:
Cheese Biscuits
 take 170 grams butter, 250 grams plain flour, a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 150 gram good crumbly cheddar, it is important that it is a decent cheddar I think. Pulse the flour salt and cayenne pepper with the butter in a food processor, add the finely crumbled cheese and pulse till it just comes together. Press out into a rectangle with your fingers. Cut into squares or triangles and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake at 180 for about fifteen minutes, or until golden. 
A lovely treat on their own or with some cheese. A world away from Jatz crackers.



Tracy said…
Great recipes Anne. I have just borrowed the Matthew Evans book from the library. I use a pasta machine to roll out really thin crackers, it makes it much easier.
happy New Year,
Anne said…
Thank you Tracy, that is a good tip, would never have occurred to me to use the pasta roller. enjoy the book, the series is back on sbs on Thursday nights, it is repeats at the moment but I think a new sereis starts after that.

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