Cheese in Cracker

I probably should be telling you about how good these crackers were. How easy they were to make, and how thrilling it was to pull them out of the oven, puffed up like little pillows for chipmunks. How, after they were assembled, you could bite into one and warm cheese would flood instantly into your mouth, caressing every single tastebud. Yes, every tastebud. Even the ones that usually only perk up in the presence of panfried brussel sprouts with chestnuts, or brownie crusts. Personally speaking, that is.

I should be telling you that these crackers, with their bellies full of cheese, were equally good topped with homemade carrot and orange marmalade. The marmalade, being eye-catchingly orange in colour, textured and vibrant in flavour, was one of the most simple but astonishingly good things I had made of late.

I should be telling you about these crackers, but what stuck in my mind most was the bit of effort it took to talk B into buying a syringe from the chemist for me, on his way home from work. How reluctant he was to do it at first, because, I mean, a syringe? What would people think!

(Tell them it’s for injecting cheese into crackers, I told him. I’d rather say it’s for drugs, he replied dryly. At least they won’t look at me as strangely.)

After a bit more cajoling, he finally acquiesced, but oh, how embarrassed he was when the chemist gave him a disapproving look, saying, “We don’t do that sort of thing here”, when he asked for a needle that would fit the syringe.

I could be telling you all these things, but I think all you really need to know is, yes, thank goodness, there is a recipe :

Cheese in Cracker :
(from Grant Achatz’s Alinea)

Cracker Dough :
215g warm water
13g fresh yeast
4g sugar
470g plain flour
4g kosher salt
55g melted butter
kosher salt

In bowl of stand mixer, stir together water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes to proof yeast. Add flour, 4g salt, and butter. Attach bowl to mixer, fit mixer with dough hook, and beat on low speed for about 6 minutes, or until dough comes together and forms firm ball. Remove bowl from mixer, cover, and let dough rise in warm place for 25 minutes. Then refrigerate bowl overnight.

The following day, transfer dough to warm place. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Line sheet tray with parchment. Preheat oven to 230’C. Using rolling pin or pasta machine, roll out 1 piece of dough about 2mm thick. Save remaining dough for another use. Cut dough sheet into 8 2.5cm squares. Transfer squares to prepared sheet tray. Season squares liberally with salt.

Bake for 6 minutes. Each cracker will puff in center and turn golden brown. Let cool on wire rack to room temperature. Using needle of syringe, punch 1 small hole in each cracker. Reserve in airtight container.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce :
150g aged Wisconsin Cheddar cheese
150g whole milk
6g kosher salt
4g sugar

Grate cheese on large holes of box grater. Transfer cheese to blender. In small saucepan, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour into blender. Add salt and sugar and blend on high speed until cheese has melted and liquid is very smooth. Pass through chinois into small container. Cover and reserve in warm place until ready to fill crackers.

To assemble and serve : Fill syringe with 30cc of cheese sauce. Using hole made with syringe needle, inject sauce into cracker. Do not overfill or cracker will burst.

[Notes : For the cheese sauce, I used what I had – a mixture of aged Cheddar and Parmesan. In the absence of a syringe needle, a sharp skewer works well to create a neat hole in the cracker large enough for the nozzle to transfer the cheese sauce. The sauce does not leak out once cracker is filled, but the cracker will start to soften over time.]

Carrot and Orange Marmalade :
(by Dan Hunter; from V.EAT Sept/Oct 2008)

850g carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons
200ml orange juice
820g caster sugar

Combine carrots, 60ml lime juice, 160ml lemon juice, lime and lemon zests and orange juice in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, transfer the mixture to a heavy-based saucepan, add sugar and cook over medium heat for 1 hour or until syrup is reduced and sticky. Transfer to an airtight container and cool. Marmalade will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 months. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

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  1. the projectivist said,

    November 18, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

    awwwww…poor B
    i don’t blame him,
    although i’m sure that the chemist people didn’t bat an eyelid.
    there’s probably a ton of people buying them for
    **cough** turkey basting, every day.

    i hope you rewarded him with bowls full of these little beauties?

  2. Y said,

    November 18, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

    Turkey basting?! 😮

  3. the projectivist said,

    November 18, 2008 @ 11:28 pm

    yes, turkey basting.
    it’s code for ‘getting self with child’
    the unnatural way.


  4. cathy x. said,

    November 18, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

    you mentioned this V.EAT before.. what is it?

  5. Lorraine E said,

    November 18, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

    Oooh love the gushing out cheese in the photo. You don’t have to tell me how good these are, I believe you! But I think I ought to try one please 😉

  6. Miri said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 12:23 am

    Wow, these pillows look so perfect, and to think that when you bite into that, hot melting cheese fills your mouth.. Now that means happiness!

  7. Mari said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 1:28 am

    OMG…I could totally scarf all of these down in a flash! EVIL (in a good way, of course)!!!

  8. Eileen said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 1:31 am

    All I can say is… these look like fun!

  9. hanne said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 2:52 am

    Wow! I’ve had my eye on these ever since my Alinea cookbook showed up in the mail, but I’ve had the same syringe reluctance. They’re very charming!

  10. Jude said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 3:56 am

    Ooh Alinea… I really like how those turned out. Looks even better than the photos at Mosaic.

  11. Christie@fig&cherry said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 4:12 am

    Hehe, he’s a true gem your man. Such devotion.

    ps. Feel very privileged I got a pre-press sneak peak at these! The copy certainly lived up to the images 🙂 You’re Oh-So-Clever at using a mirror, it makes the oozing cheese even more drool-worthy. x

  12. Mike said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 5:10 am

    Those poofed up crackers are picture perfect! I must admit, the idea of cheese and crackers didn’t have me super excited (maybe it was years of ritz with cheese whiz on top? lol), but I knew you’re food has yet to ever disappoint me, and sure enough, you’ve taken this to somewhere great. It looks wonderful!

  13. matt wright said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 5:46 am

    Talk about an amazing take on cheese and crackers. These look completely awesome! What lovely clean photos too. The reflections are just perfect. I wish I had a baking sheet as clean as that.

  14. food librarian said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 6:32 am

    oh my goodness! How incredibly cute! I love all food that puffs up! 🙂

  15. cakebrain said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 6:52 am

    Leave it to you to take something as mundane as cheese and crackers and make it elegant and clever! I was wondering how you got marmalade in the little puffs without your syringe nozzle jamming with chunks of carrot and orange peel! That’s gotta be a pretty big nozzle!

  16. Eileen said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 6:58 am

    Just wanted you to know that I linked you on my website. Love your blog!

  17. Thip said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 8:32 am

    I love it… 😀

  18. Jesse said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 9:37 am

    I was totally afraid you were going to say they didn’t turn out well, because they sure look fantastic! I can’t wait to try them!

  19. Sophie said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 11:11 am

    Lol that is the funniest thing! Haha my husband would’ve reacted the same way.

    These guys are soo soo cute, little cheese pillows! 🙂

  20. chocolatesuze said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

    pillows of cheese! ahhh so cute! lol at the syringe 🙂 i grew up playing with (needle-less) syringes becos my dad is a doctor

  21. _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    Their pillowy look is so cute!

  22. FFichiban said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

    Mmmmm pillow of chheeseeee ^^! If only you made these human pillow-sized 😉 Yuummmmmmy photoosss.

  23. Christy said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

    Lol!!! That’s something I’d ask J to do for me too, and I imagine that his reactions would be pretty much similar…

    I might try this recipe, just because it sounds so fun to make!! Just to clarify with you though, you pierced the cracker with the needle, and then remove it before injecting the cheese sauce? Or do you keep the needle on the syringe?

    Thanks for the recipe, Y!!

  24. clumbsycookie said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

    Man are just syringe shy! Oh man I would like these for sure! I used to make similar ones at a restaurant, but they were not preagnant with cheese! I think these must be much better!

  25. linda said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

    Ha ha, tell the chemist you need it for injecting cheese into crackers!
    Love the idea a lot but wouldn’t it have been much easier to serve the whole thing cheese fondue style 😉
    Love the marmalade. With what else would you pair it with?

  26. Y said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

    Hi Linda! Yes, it probably would, but then again, where’s the fun in that! ;P
    The marmalade is great as an accompaniment to cheese, on a cheese platter. In the original recipe, it was served with Manchego and lavosh. I think it’s also great on toast in the morning!

  27. Aran said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

    I bought Alinea a few weeks ago too but I still have to read through it a bit more. Beautiful photos!

  28. grace said,

    November 20, 2008 @ 12:36 am

    other than introducing life-saving solutions into the body, i can’t think of a better use for a syringe. 🙂

  29. Manggy said,

    November 20, 2008 @ 1:24 am

    Very well done– they look perfect! I’m still afraid to buy the Alinea book for the tool-age… But if it’s just syringes, I can handle that, I’ve got plenty 🙂 Actually you can buy syringes here pretty much off the rack (IV drugs are too expensive for actual druggies here). My fear would be the cheese thickening and plugging it up!

  30. Shari said,

    November 20, 2008 @ 4:38 am

    You’re very lucky to have B! Loved your post, and I was glad I didn’t have a sip of coffee in my mouth or it would have all over my monitor! Amazing photos and the cheese in crackers sound divine and impressive.

  31. Tartelette said,

    November 20, 2008 @ 7:54 am

    This is excatly the kind of recipes my nerdie/geeky self loves to do on Sundays! I love the little bellies full of oozing cheese. In the first picture, they look like perfect little pillows!

  32. Lael said,

    November 20, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

    oh dear, what a funny story. I don’t know if I’ve got the nerve to go on a hunt for a needle and syringe, and there’s no boyfriend or hubbie for me to send…but, still, these crackers sound delicious (despite how you did NOT tell us about their melty cheese quality)

  33. Vera said,

    November 22, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    Y, what a brilliant idea! I’m making these for sure!

  34. April Smith said,

    July 11, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    Sounds absolutely delicious 🙂 Thanks for writing out the recipe 🙂

    Currently enjoying cheese and crackers ( Separate from Surrey, B.C., Canada 🙂

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