Seedy Power Crackers & Dried Fruit Chutney

Seed-Cacker-Dried-Fruit-Chutney-3Like I’ve mentioned last week, Winter, capital W and all, has arrived. While that’s generally a questionable blessing in our parts, it also means the time for our annual escape to a cosy, reed capped cottage just peeking over the top of the dam out onto the crashing waves of the North Sea on Sylt has come. Goodbye cold, miserable, grey, constant drizzle, hello North Sea!

It still feels kind of wrong to say that in the dead of winter, but at least the climate means serious business here. No grey and gloomy drizzle, weird warm’ish breezes cutting through seriously cold fog in that kind of half-daylight that always makes you wonder if it’s still early morning or close to nightfall again… Up here, if the sun comes out, it glares down from a picture-perfect blue sky. If, 3 minutes later, the wind picks up, I happily throw out my anchor after fending off hubby’s attempts to attach a length of rope and some sort of kite to me. The wall of water that will most likely hit us in the middle of a hike? Finally that capital-offense-against-fashion, bright red waterproof gear – yep, I pull that one off with a straight face – comes into use. And once the day’s coming to an end, there’s this comfortably warm and cozy house waiting for us – and a kitchen with an oven! I always come here with ridiculously long to-cook/to-bake lists and what feels like the contents of my entire kitchen and buzz about the place like a whole beehive of joy probably nobody who doesn’t have access to an oven on a regular basis would understand. “Relax, we’re on vacation!” I get to hear a lot, but believe me…
→ take a long stroll on a seemingly endless beach completely devoid of other people – enjoy a very long and very hot shower – throw something into oven – brew cup of tea – drink tea while watching oven-TV ←
…is a pretty damn perfect chain of events for me during these days. And once all that’s done, I always feel like I’ve really earned myself one of the little treats I cooked up that day in order to dot the I on good company or, alternatively, a good book, movie and/or glass of wine~!
I’ve been making today’s treat on almost every trip up here and, while I’m watching another batch of them crisping up in the oven, figured that sharing the recipe for these healthy power crackers and a matching sidekick might be a good idea~! Since two delicious and healthy snacks in front of you are always better than one, I usually make two versions of these – their prep method is exactly the same, so they can go in and out of the oven in one go as well. Huzzah for whipping up treat-related choices without any extra effort~!

Seed-Cacker-Dried-Fruit-Chutney-2

The Hearty Seed Crackers Version #1
100g Millet Seeds
30g Sesame Seeds
30g Golden Linseeds
40g Rice Flour
20g Rye Flour
1 Tsp Cumin
½ Tsp ground Coriander
2 Tsp Rosemary Needles, very finely chopped
1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
½ Tsp Fleur de Sel or Coarse Sea Salt

The Hearty Seed Crackers Version #2
100g Golden Linseeds
30g Red Quinoa
30g Poppy Seeds
40g Rice Flour
20g Rye Flour
1 ½ Tsp Cumin
2 Tsp Rosemary Needles, very finely chopped
1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
½ Tsp Fleur de Sel or Coarse Sea Salt

1) Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2) Place the whole seeds in a large, heatproof bowl and douse them with 100ml of boiling water.
3) Set the bowl aside for 10 mins and allow the seeds to soak.
4) Meanwhile, add the flours and spices along with the rosemary and salt to a second bowl and give the mixture a light stir.
5) Once the seeds’ R&R time’s over, pop them and the remaining liquids into the bowl holding your “dry” ingredients.
6) Work the lot into a dough with the help of a rubber spatula – as it’s approaching the finishing line, it’ll ball up on it’s own. The seeds should stick together nicely, forming a firm’ish yet non-crumbly ball of dough. If more than just a couple of seeds are flaking off of the ball, work in a few more drops of water.
7) Pick up a baking tray and fit two sheets of baking parchment to the size of the tray. Smooth one of them out on your work surface.
8) Brush the sheet with a generous drizzle of olive oil and place your ball of dough in its center.
9) Brush the second sheet with a bit of oil as well and place it on top of the ball, oiled side hitting the dough.
10) Pick up a rolling pin and roll the seedy ball into a thin layer – pick the largest seed in your mix and try to flatten the dough-sheet down to the thickness of that particular seed.
11) Leaving the sheet a tad thicker won’t hurt much, but the crackers will end up being a lot… well less crispy, more cracking – which isn’t a bad thing per se, but make sure to wipe the plates on the same day you’ve made them. Or have really good teeth if you bite into them a day or so later.
12) Depending on the seed mix and on how much water they soaked up to this point, you might have to go in two tray-sized batches rather than just cramming them all into one round. Should you get to the point where you realize you’ll need a second tray to accommodate your dough, ball the mixture up again and divide it into two evenly sized portions before going through the oiled-sheet routine again.
13) Once you’re satisfied with the seedy sheet, very carefully and slowly remove the top parchment and slide the base sheet holding your future crackers in place onto the baking tray.
14) Sprinkle the dough with the salt flakes and pop the tray into the oven for about 20 min. Again, depending on the amount of liquid the dough needed, the oven-time might vary slightly, so here’s the visual you’re looking for:
The sheet will be visibly “dry” and its edges will turn into a slightly darker hue while doing their seedy best to curl upwards.
15) Once that’s done, transfer the ginormic cracker, baking parchment and all, onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool off entirely.
16) Carefully remove the parchment and break them into crispy pieces large enough to call for a delicious dip to go along with them.

By the way, if you feel like preparing a batch in advance or larger amounts of them at once, they’ll keep crisp and yumtastic for about 1 1/2-2 weeks if stored in an airtight container.

Seed-Cacker-Dried-Fruit-Chutney-1

The Dried Fruit Chutney
60g Soft-dried Apricots, finely chopped
60g Dried Apples, finely chopped
80g Prunes, finely chopped
3 Shallots, finely diced
1 Tsp Olive Oil
150ml Dry Red Wine
150ml Vegetable or Duck Stock
1 Bay Leaf
4 Sprigs of Thyme
2 Tbsp Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Black Olive Tapenade

1) Place a pot large enough to accommodate all of your ingredients on medium heat and add the oil. Give it some time to get up to speed with the temperature, then add the shallots and sauté them until they start to turn translucent – 3-4 mins should do the trick.
2) Deglaze the pot with the duck stock, stir in the wine, turn the heat to high and bring the lot to a rapid boil.
3) Once the liquids in your pot are merrily bubbling away, pop in the herbs and dried fruit before turning the heat down to low.
4) Once the bubbling action in the pot has settled down to a gentle simmer, pop on the lid and allow the mixture to simmer away for 10 mins. Give it a stir from time to time to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom of the pot.
5) Take the proto-chutney off the heat, stir in the vinegar and give the fruit about 5-10 mins to soak up the additional liquid.
6) In case there’s an obvious excess of liquid left in the pot after that time has passed, place the pot back on low heat and, while stirring regularly, reduce the chutney down until you’re satisfied. Since it’s a chutney of the chunky variety, the back-of-spoon-test doesn’t work that well, so you’ll have to go with your personal preference on this one.
7) Hunt down and discard the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.
8) Stir in the olive tapenade and have a taste-test. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and transfer the chutney into sterilized jars… or serving bowls to go along with the crackers right away~!

Enjoy~!

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