11 December, 2015

Crunchy Wholewheat Crackers/Tarts


This is a versatile, easy-to-make, biscuit-type base which can be made ahead and stored for upto a week or more in an air-tight jar.

Have it just as it is.

Or top it with savoury or sweet accompaniments to make a quick, healthy and handy snack.

Fill it with fruits and cream or hung-curds. Or custard with caramel, or a berry fool.

As crackers with a dip like hummus or pesto, or with chutney.

For a savoury option try tahini-cucumber or even a fiery salsa.

Or the Chaat Tart.

The possibilities are endless.


Ingredients:

(Makes around one dozen medium-sized shells, plus extra end-bits for straws):
  1. Atta (Wholewheat flour): 1 cup
  2. Ajwain (Carom seeds): 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste). Optional, or use any spice/herb/seasoning of choice.
  3. Oil: 2 Tablespoons (I used cold-pressed, organic, groundnut oil. Can substitute with ghee/butter, if not vegan.)
    This can be doubled for an even richer, more crumbly (khasta/खस्ता) result.
    I used 2 TBS here. (Quadrupling it will make shortbread)
  4. Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Chiroti sooji (Super-fine wheat semolina): 2 Tablespoons, Optional. Again, add this only if a more brittle crumb is desired, like when making a slightly thicker crust.

Method:

Steps to make the dough:


  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.

  2. Add in the oil/fat.





  3. Rub the fat into the mix till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  4. Add the barest minimum cold water by tablespoonfuls, and mix it in.


  5. Keep adding more water bit by bit. In picture 5, the process is almost done, though still too crumbly to roll out.
  6. So I add just a bit more water, till the dough comes together, to make a very stiff dough.  
    The exact quantity of water required might vary each time; here I used about 5 TBS (75ml) totally.









Once the dough is ready, it can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, if required.


Steps to make the tarts/crackers:

1. Roll out the dough very thin, about 2mm.
This is important, the crust needs to be very thin.
Much elbow grease will be much required!


2. Cutout circles slightly larger than the base of muffin cups or moulds, 
and place into, or outside, each cup-shaped mould.

I've also used some stainless steel 'katoris' and a steel plate in lieu of another missing tray, which work just fine!

A motley collection of various moulds pressed into service!
The flat ones are crackers.
You may grease the used surface of the moulds (inner or outer) if you wish, but I do not find this necessary at all. 

They come off just fine even from un-greased surfaces 

Since they 'shrink' just a bit after being baked, the 'inners' come off a little more easily than the 'outers', which might need a very slight prod to come off after cooling.

3. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 12-15 minutes or till light golden brown, turning it around halfway through, if need be, for even browning.















Here are the baked shells, they are perfectly done.

















But I like them to be JUST a teensy bit browner that this, so I'm going to pop them into the oven again for just a few more minutes to get that perfect shade of brown-ness.

[SMALL DIGRESSION:
A friend was inquiring, - during a discussion about why I was switching to stainless steel, and whether aluminium was really all that bad, - about how the tray component affected the end result, since SS isn't as good a conductor of heat as Al, and well, here they  are. The plain-edged shells were baked on inverted stainless steel cups, and actually turned out crisper! (Though, just for the record, some things like pita bread, for eg., do bake better on my Aluminium cookie sheet than on the SS one.  So it's not a clear winner. I still do have plenty of Al bakeware from long ago, not planning to replace most of them anytime soon. 
END OF SMALL DIGRESSION]

In they go again for just a few minutes.















And NOW they're just perfect, I say!



















(Feel free to skip this last step if you're not so picky about the colour)


Could eat them right away!


Crunch.

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