Pistachio Hummus with Benne Crackers

Menu Part: 
Appetizer
Cuisine Type: 
American
Serves: 
2 cups

The popularity of Mediterranean cuisine has put hummus in the spotlight as a healthy and flavorful sandwich filling or dip. This version, created by award-winning chef Sean Brock of Charleston, S.C., substitutes pistachios for the usual chickpeas, with lemon, smoked paprika and cumin livening up the mixture. Brock serves the sophisticated snack with housemade benne crackers—a South Carolina specialty made with sesame seeds.

Ingredients

Pistachio hummus
2 cups pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. espelette pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. parsley, chiffonade

Benne crackers
1 cup benne seed
2 cups French Mediterranean white bread flour
1 cup Antebellum bennecake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup chilled lard

2/3 cup cold milk 
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Steps

  1. Prepare hummus: In large saucepan over high heat, combine pistachios and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer; cook 20 minutes or until pistachios soften. Drain and reserve.
  2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, combine pistachios, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, espelette and garlic. Process until smooth, about 4 minutes. Slowly incorporate 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
  3. For benne crackers: Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  4. Watching carefully, toast benne seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool. 
  5. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl. Cut in lard with two forks until it is the size of peas. Fold in benne seed. Stir in milk.
  6. Knead dough on lightly floured work surface until it comes together, about 3 minutes. Divide dough into three parts. Working one piece at a time and keeping surface lightly floured, roll out dough into a paper-thin circle. Prick all over with a fork; cut out rounds with 2-inch cutter. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.
  7. Bake wafers about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Halfway through, switch sheets top to bottom and rotate them front to back to ensure even baking. Remove crackers to wire rack to cool. They will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. 
  8. When ready to serve, sprinkle top of hummus with paprika, remaining olive oil and parsley. Serve with benne crackers.

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