When speaking of my quince obsession the other day, I told you about membrillo, a delicious Spanish quince paste. Due to the miracle of quince’s high pectin content, when cooked for a long time at a slow temperature, it makes this lovely firm jelly, that is as pretty as it is tasty.
In Spain they eat it with manchego cheese, a dry, salty sheep’s cheese. The combination is uncommonly good! I decided to make some little cups out of cracker dough, and put a small piece of membrillo and a small piece of manchego in each one. It looks fancy, but it’s also nice because you get the full experience in one bite – sweet & soft, salty, and crispy crunchy. I made these with smoked Spanish paprika. Because 1)I make everything with smoked spanish paprika (I swear, I have to stop myself, sometimes!) 2) It’s Spanish, like the cheese and the quince paste 3) it makes the dough a beautiful pinkish salmon color that goes so nicely with the lovely pinkish amber membrillo!
I simply made a quick cracker dough, and rolled it into little discs that I pressed into a mini muffin tin. I didn’t want them to be too neat and orderly, they look more like little flowers if you just press them quickly together and crimp them randomly with your fingers.
You could use any kind of cracker dough, and put any number of things inside (food-type things, preferably!) Tapenade and fresh mozzarella would be good. Or goat cheese and a little sprig of arugula, or some capers. Whatever you like!
Here’s Bob Marley’s beautiful My Cup to listen to while you make your little cracker cups.
2 cups flour
1 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. white pepper
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, frozen
Mix the flour and the three peppers. Grate the frozen butter in. Mix till it’s like coarse bread crumbs. Add enough ice water to form a workable dough. Try to handle it as little as possible. Wrap in foil or plastic and put in the fridge for a little while.
WHen you’re ready to roll, lightly butter all of the hollows in a mini muffin tin. Grab a marble-sized piece of dough. Roll into an oblong or circle (it doesn’t need to be precise) about 1/8th inch thick. Fold it into a cone, and press the bottom into the muffin tin. Crimp the sides a little bit to make a random pretty pattern. When they’re all formed….
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, till they’re crispy and just starting to brown.
You can also make regular crackers by rolling the whole thing flat, cutting into rectangles or diamonds with a pizza cutter, and baking at the same temperature for the same amount of time.