A crisp, crunchy cracker made with Greek cheese and a bit of cayenne heat.
Cheese and crackers are a universal snack, and the vast array of both cheeses and crackers means that the combinations are endless. The only thing better than cheese and crackers is cheese in crackers, and so we thought it would be a good idea to create a cracker recipe which uses one of our favourite Greek cheeses. And guess what?? We were right!
Kefalograviera, the cheesy star here, is a hard cheese usually made from sheep or goat’s milk, or a combination of the two. Kefalograviera is produced in Western Macedonia, Epirus, and the regional units of Aetolia-Acarnania and Evrytania, and has been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Union. This means that only cheeses produced in these areas can legally be sold and marketed as kefalograviera.
We love kafalograviera for its saltiness and rich aroma. It is the cheese we like to use for cheese saganaki and is also an excellent cheese to grate and us to top off salads, or soups. If you have a hard time finding kefalograviera, then you can substitute it for kefalotyri, another wonderful Greek cheese which has a similar taste and texture.
Because kefalograviera grates so beautifully, it seemed a perfect choice for these cheese crackers. By adding the sesame seeds and a bit of cayenne pepper you end up with a cracker which explodes with flavour and which you may find yourself mildly addicted to. Sorry, not sorry.
Toasting sesame seeds in a frying pan is risky business; they can go from toasted to burnt in a quick second. For this reason it is important not to leave them unattended, and to continuously stir them while they are being heated over medium heat. Once done (to your preferred level of toastiness), transfer them into a bowl. Leaving them in a hot pan, even off the burner, may tip them over to the burnt side.
The cooking time is given as a range, because it really will depend on how thick, or thin, you make your crackers. This will also impact how many crackers you end up with. Our crackers were approximately 1/8 of an inch thick and took about 20 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on them, and test one or two to be sure that they are cooked through.
We used a small quantity of cayenne pepper in this recipe, to give just a slight bit of heat to the kefalograviera crackers. Try this amount, and if you think you would prefer to have your second batch a little hotter, double the cayenne pepper to 1/4 teaspoon.
There are so many ways to enjoy these crackers. We love them plain, with a bit of jam, or alongside our creamy tomato soup. You can also break them up to add as croutons to a maroulosalata.
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Kefalograviera crackers with sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup grated kefalograviera cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 - 3 tbsp cold water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan set over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 3 - 5 minutes. They are ready when the sesame seeds have browned. Remove from the heat and set aside in a small bowl.
- In a medium sized bowl sift together the flour, dry oregano, salt and cayenne pepper.
- Add the grated cheese and the sesame seeds to the flour mixture and mix well to combine.
- Add the egg yolk, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Mix well with your hands until you can shape the dough into a ball that holds together. You may need to add the additional tablespoon of water.
- Divide the dough in half for easier handling. Shape into two balls and then roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness.
- Using a sharp knife, a pizza cutter or another type of rolling cutter, create your cracker shapes. We like to make rectangles which are approximately 1 inch wide and 2 inches long.
- Place your crackers on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and repeat until you have used up all your dough.
- Bake your crackers in the middle rack of your oven for between 15 - 20 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on how thick your crackers ended up being (and of course, on your oven).
- Allow to cool on the baking sheet.