Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carta de Musica- the edible music sheet

This morning, I tried my hand at semolina cracker sheets, called Carta de musica in Italy.  Quick and easy to make in your stand mixer.  Great addition to your wine and cheese table...

In Italy, these elegant, light, crispy crackers are baked in long, thin sheets.  The cracker dough is basically an eggless pasta dough, made with all-purpose and semolina flours and open to an endless variety of cracker toppings.  This dough must be rolled out very thin- what better tool to use than the pasta maker!  It works.  You can also use a rolling pin, as long as you roll it out paper-thin.  Don't forget to dust your work surface with extra flour to prevent your dough from sticking.

The semolina flour adds rich, buttery flavour and a "snap" to the cracker.  Serve them piled in a basket so guests can just snap off pieces with their fingers.  Or, you could cut the dough in neat rectangles (4" x 2") for precut crackers.  The beauty of these crackers is their neutral flavour, perfect for dipping or for the toppings suggested below.
From left to right:
salt only, rosemary and salt,
smoked paprika, mixed herb and lastly,
the overcooked batch in the top corner.
 To make about 12 foot long sheets.


Ingredients
1     cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1     cup semolina flour
2/3  cup warm water
1/2  tsp sea salt
1     tbsp olive oil
3/4  tsp coarse finishing salt (fleur de sel)

Directions
Combine the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, water, sea salt and olive in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the dough hook.  Set to low until the dough begins to come together, then increase to medium speed until the dough is smooth and springy when stretched- about four minutes.  If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour; if it's too dry, add a bit of water.  Or, you can mix and knead the dough by hand for approximately six minutes.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for about one hour.  It can also be placed in the refrigerator, covered, for up to two days.

When ready to roll take the dough out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes before.

At the #1 setting on its way to 2,3,4 and 5
Folding the dough in three
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Divide the dough into six equal sized balls.  Dust the first ball with flour and flatten into a 1/2-inch thick disk.  Run the dough through the pasta maker at the widest setting (usually 1).  Fold into three and run it through again, repeat until the dough is smooth.  Continue running through the pasta maker, all the while, turning the dial from setting 2 through to 5.  You will have a long thin sheet, about two feet long.  Cut the sheet in half lengthwise and transfer to the baking sheet.  Repeat with the other balls of dough.

Sprinkle the crackers with finishing salt and use your hands to gently tamp it down into the dough.  Bake the crackers until they are golden brown and crisp, about eight minutes, rotating the trays from top to bottom.  Watch the crackers carefully as they will burn quite quickly.

WANNA PLAY?
I incorporated the herbs
directly into the dough
for this variation
These crackers just cry out for toppings.  Here are the ones I tried out:
-  fleur de sel and fresh cracked black pepper
-  Hungarian smoked paprika and salt
-  fresh chopped rosemary and salt
-  fresh mixed herbs, finely chopped and salt.  I actually incorporated these into the dough with great success.

Other suggestions:
-   a shmear of roasted garlic
-   finely grated padano or parmesan cheese, or smoked gouda
-   black and white sesame seeds and salt

I'd like to hear what toppings you used.!

2 comments:

  1. Hi, I make a versión of Carta de Musica but it is a yeast dough................I wonder if you have any ideas for a gluten free versión that I might make as I sell them to friends here in the tiny town in central Mexico where I live and quite a few people have expressed a desire for a gluten free versión......I call mine BRACKERS and people really love them!!! Have developed about 15 different flavors and they are flying off the shelves. Thank you for the help.

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  2. Hi there!
    Thanks for visiting. They are great aren't they? I have seen one or two recipes on the Net but didn't note the sites. Google?
    Cheers
    Jo

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