Nigel Slater is one of my favourite food writers. In addition to a plethora of really, really good cook books, he also writes for the Observer Magazine and the Observer Food Monthly Supplement. His food is intuitive, uncomplicated and unpretentious with fabulous flavour. When I first returned to work, his “Real Fast Food” and “Real Food” are what I read at bedtime to prime myself for the evenings to come so that I could still have people over for supper and not go into a complete meltdown in the process. “Appetite” remains one of my most referred to books and “Kitchen Diaries” still helps to inspire when I am feeling as jaded and uninspired as stale cracker…
Speaking of which, I watched him make these spelt crackers on catch-up television the other day and shortly after, found myself in Whole Foods where you can buy tiny (or huge) scoops of flours, rice, pulses, seeds and nuts from their bulk bins. I had already looked up and saved the recipe to Pepperplate so all that was left to do was to look it up on my phone and buy what was needed. The seeded spelt crackers are dry, crumbly and nutty from the seeds – perfect with a bit of blue or creamy cheese after dinner.
Spelt is a truly ancient grain which can be traced as far back as the 5th millennium BC. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour and can be helpful for people who are wheat intolerant but not coeliacs as it does contain gluten. I have used the flour to make delicious pancakes in the past (substituting half of the flour with spelt) and it can be used in cakes and biscuits as well.
Do have a go at these crackers – they really are delicious!
Seeded Spelt Crackers
Barely adapted from Nigel Slater’s Dish of the Day – Savoury Biscuits
- 90g spelt flour
- 15g golden linseeds
- 15g pumpkin seeds
- 15g sesame seeds
- 15g sunflower seeds
- 50g soft butter
- 2 Tbsp water
- flaky sea salt to sprinkle
- Pre heat oven to 180C/350F and prepare your baking sheet by laying some greaseproof paper on it.
- Place the flour and seeds in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Stir in the butter with a wooden spoon or just use your hands to rub the butter into the flour/seed mix until it is evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle on the one tablespoon of water and use your hands to start bringing the dough together, adding the second tablespoon of water as you go. You should end up with a nubbly ball of dough.
- Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. It will be quite hard when you retrieve it so let it warm up a bit before trying to roll it out.
- Place the dough between two sheets of grease proof paper or cling film and roll out quite thinly. The original recipe says as thick as a pound coin but I rolled the dough much thinner than than – more like a 5p coin.
- Using a 2 inch pastry cutter or a wine glass (any thin glassed vessel will do..) stamp out rounds – I managed to get 24, re-rolling the scraps a couple of times.
- Place rounds on the prepared baking sheet – they don’t spread very much so you can place them quite close together – and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, checking after 8 minutes. They are ready when they look golden brown.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight tin.