Monday, 30 December 2013


In this joyous season of Santa and carolling angels, there comes a time to cut against the grain of general goodwill to mankind. So, these wafer-thin crisp-breads are not afraid of their inner dark side: mis-shapen and generally rather ragged, they are all the more attractive for being rough around the edges in a "Robert Johnson, wrong side of the tracks kinda way." 
Resist the sweetest blandishments of another mince pie or slice of panforte. Match le lingue del diavolo with salty-savoury chunks of parmesan (or a wisp or two of prosciutto-style, smoked reindeer) and let the Devil do the talking.

220g   plain flour
200g   sourdough starter (100% hydration)
100g   plain yoghurt
40g     light olive oil
2 tsp   poppy seeds
a pinch of salt.
Plus olive oil, sea salt flakes, chilli flakes or fennel seeds for scattering on top of the biscuits before cooking.
(Makes 8)

Mix together and knead to a smooth dough. Let the dough stand for a couple of hours in a covered bowl.
Half an hour before you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 200 degree C and place a baking stone on the middle rack.
Knead the dough briefly and divide into eight small balls.
On a floured surface, roll out each ball until very thin and tongue-shaped. Just before baking, brush the surface of each one gently with a tiny amount of olive oil and scatter with salt (or chilli flakes and/or fennel seeds, to taste); then place on the hot baking stone (or a flat baking tray).  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until crisp and pale golden brown with darker blotches.  Place the biscuits straight onto a rack and let them cool and crisp up. They can be stored in an air-tight container, but are best eaten fresh while still at peak crispness. 

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