I lost my sleep after the last visit to Kantin, not your typical Istanbul canteen catering to the working crowd of the upscale district of Nişantasi. I was that thrilled not by the discussion of entering Azerbaijan market held by the industrialists at the next table and not even by my show-stopping salad. What kept me thinking for a week was a package of crackers I bought at their store downstairs.
The crackers were long and generously seasoned with your typical Turkish greatness: coriander seeds, nigella seeds, poppy seeds, dry mint and tomato paste. Kantin’s crackers are made of the “stolen” (as Şemsa Denizsel, the chef and proprietor puts it) sourdough purposed for the bread . I bought a bag of crackers and it was a big hit with my family that loves their tea time savory bits. So I set to work to find out how to make such crackers if you don’t have sourdough handy (phew).
Now you probably expect a story.. about my mother-in-law (who is ok), my recent clients (with whom many happy cooking moments were shared) or my husband (whom I miss as ironically we don’t see each other much). Or at least you think I will share the thoughts that don’t leave my mind these days – expectations of marriage, my hunger for travels and .. meaning of life. But will disappoint you – my cracker agenda has been more thrilling than the meaning of life. Plus, I have ironing to do.
To come up with the corn cracker recipe I had to set a whole day for that: a pile of clothes to be ironed, sun outside – appearing so briefly these days – and what not were de-prioritized. I have produced about 10 dozens of crackers with three distinctive recipes and 6 different toppings.
With my cracker tests I have forgotten about lunch: thankfully the oven was white hot so I popped in the cauliflower I grabbed at the market yesterday to roast and then fixed a Turkish pesto of dill (hope this is intriguing enough as I must tell you cauliflower is not a bluestocking as many think and loves being dressed hot – stay tuned for details in my upcoming posts).
I wanted to use corn flour to give a bit of Black Sea style to my crackers but then the dough of corn flour is way too crumbly to be rolled thinly so I had to play around and eventually figured how to balance it with the all-purpose flour. Red pepper flakes and dry mint are classic Turkish seasonings that are typically warmed up in the sizzling butter before pouring onto a soup or past. As the butter was already in the dough little was left – I tossed in the seasonings and voilà – very Turkish flavor and cheerful dots of the red and green have made these crackers stand out.
Every time as the smell of these corn crackers started tickling my nostrils and I rushed to take the tray out of the oven and then to examine those rosy-cheeked thins I knew that very moment and my whole day had turned happy and very very meaningful.
With tea, with milk, with hummus, with cozy soup – you would want to munch these addictive corn crackers all the time
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 7 Min
Total Time: 22 Min
Makes 6 dozens (and yes, you don’t want to halve the recipe)
- 1 cup (120 gram) corn flour and more for rolling
- 1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (10 gram) sugar
- 1/3 tsp (2 gram) salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp dry mint
- 4 tbsp (60 gram) butter
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Preheat the oven to 210C/410F.
- In a mixing bowl combine corn flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and seasonings. With you fingertips work in the butter until your mixture resembles wet sand. Eventually pour in cold water and knead the dough to come together. Divide onto two parts. Transfer one part to the flour-dusted counter and flatten with your palm. Roll very very thin with a rolling pin: corn flour makes it rather tender so dust the surface and rolling pin with flour before every single roll. Cut into squares. With a fork prick each square a couple of times to prevent puffing. Place of a tray lined with baking paper leaving some space between the crackers (do a few batches, if required) and bake until slightly brown (5-7 minutes). Cool down before enjoying. I don’t think that it will come to that but these corn crackers store really well – 1-2 weeks in an air-tight container.