This recipe appears in:From the Pastry Dungeon: Duck Fat Crackers
This recipe is based on a lavash cracker recipe I learned at a popular restaurant for which I briefly worked, and when the dough is handled minimally with almost no flour added in the rolling process (which, by the way, can be done with a pasta roller if you're not confident in your abilities to roll dough paper-thin) it results in a perfectly light, crispy cracker which is still sturdy enough to stand up to a slice of cheese perched atop it. The original recipe called for buttermilk as the liquid, but we didn't have any at work when I was testing the recipe. Since I already knew I wanted to add some lemon zest to the dough, I figured I'd sour the milk myself with some lemon juice, which is a nice touch and the fresh acidity helps cut through the rich duck fat.
If you happen to have duck fat that has been previously used for confit, that is actually better for this particular application, since any seasonings or intermingling fats from other animals are just extra flavor in the cracker.
Note: Feel free to use whatever blend of herbs, spices, seeds, etc. you'd like for these crackers. I like to take roughly equal parts of fennel seed, dried basil, thyme leaves, and the black pepper called for and whizz them in the spice grinder to make a sprinkle for these crackers, and they kind of smell like pizza baking. Fatty, ducky pizza.
- For Dough
- 1 cup milk
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 4 ounces duck fat
- To Finish
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- Flaky sea salt
- Finely ground black pepper
- Dried herbs and spices, to taste (see note)
Combine milk and lemon juice, set aside. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in medium mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add lemon zest and duck fat and cut in with pastry cutter or rub in by hand until mixture is crumbly. Add curdled milk and knead gently until smooth. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight if possible.
Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use bench scraper to cut small portions of dough. Use as little flour as possible to roll out gently but evenly until very thin; almost translucent is fine but the dough should not tear. Use a sharp knife or pastry roller to cut strips, then rectangles or triangles from each strip. Lay out evenly on parchment-lined sheet trays (edges may touch but not overlap). Use a fork or very small whisk to mix together egg yolk and water, then brush gently and lightly onto crackers. Prick holes in each cracker with a fork or skewer, then season evenly with salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you prefer.
Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate pan(s) and continue baking, checking crackers every minute or so. If any appear evenly golden-brown, carefully remove to a separate sheet or cooling rack, then continue baking the rest, removing them as they finish. They take a few minutes to get going but can cook unevenly and burn very quickly so check often (if you have an oven with a glass door and interior light, you'll be at an advantage). Repeat until all crackers are baked and allow to cool fully before storing in airtight containers for up to one week.
Do not bother trying to reuse scraps; no matter how long you rest them the crackers will be thick and possibly tough.