Pecorino & Black Pepper Cheese Crisps


This is a recipe that I began making a month or so before we left for Umbria when I was looking for ways to use up a large block of Pecorino Romano cheese that I had left in my refrigerator. I made these crisps twice for guests, and everyone loved them and agreed that they were perfect served with a nice glass of full-bodied red wine. Since we entertain our farmhouse guest a lot during our summer season, I am always looking for quick and easy snacks and appetizers to serve when guests first arrive, and these are delicious little bites. These crisps are great served with that first glass of wine when folks first arrive and chat a bit before sitting down at the table for the real meal. Best of all, you can mix these crisps quickly using a food processor, and after letting the dough rest a couple of hours in the refrigerator, they roll out in minutes. I used a scalloped pastry cutter to cut out my squares giving them a little wavy edge, but and pastry cutter or even a pizza cutter will work just fine.

I have played around with this recipe a few times, using fresh chopped rosemary or thyme in place of the black pepper. I also increased the amount of grated cheese used but found that both the fresh herbs as well as the extra cheese tasted great but caused the cheese crisps to soften up by the second or third day. This recipe I am sharing below creates tasty crisps with just enough of that delicious cheese flavor to shine through. The black pepper adds just a little bite that pairs well with the cheese and works perfectly with a glass of wine, particularly red wine. I like the bite of the pepper, so I use two full teaspoons of it, but if you are not a pepper fan, feel free to cut this amount in half. Do use an aged or dry Pecorino cheese for the best flavor.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Pecorino & Black Pepper Cheese Crisps

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 – 2 Teaspoons Ground Black Pepper (See Notes Above – Coarsely Ground Works Best)
  • 1/2 Stick, or 4 Tablespoons Cold Butter Cut Into Pieces
  • 1 Cup Finely Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add the flour, pepper, and butter and pulse a few times until the mixture is mealy.
  2. Add the cheese and pulse just until mixed.
  3. Add the cream, and continue to pulse until the mixture comes together as a dough.
  4. Shape the dough into a block, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4 of an inch thick, and using a pastry wheel, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.
  7. Place the crisps on the prepared baking sheets and bake until light golden brown and puffy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Cool to room temperature and serve.
  9. Store crisps in an airtight container for up to 2 days.