Antebellum Benne Crackers with Pistachio Hummus & Country Ham by Chef Sean Brock

7 to 8 dozen.

Suggested Pairing: Mint Julep, Sauvignon Blanc, Aromatic Belgian Style Beer

Benne Crackers:
2 cups Anson Mills French Mediterranean White Bread Flour
1 cup Anson Mills Antebellum Bennecake Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2/3 cup Chilled lard
1 cup Anson Mills Antebellum Benne Seed
2/3 cup Cold milk
Fleur de sel for sprinkling

Pistachio Hummus:
2 cups Pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup Water
2 tablespoons Tahini
2 tablespoons Fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Espelette pepper
1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped rough
3 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Parsley, chiffonade


For the Benne Crackers:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats™ or parchment paper.

Watching carefully, toast the benne seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Spread them out on a baking sheet to cool.

Sift the White Bread Flour, Bennecake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cut the lard in with two forks until it is the size of peas. Fold in the benne seed. Stir in the milk.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it comes together, about 3 minutes. Divide it into 3 parts. Working 1 piece of dough at a time and keeping the surface lightly floured, roll the dough out in a paper-thin circle. Prick it all over with a fork and cut out rounds with a 2-inch cutter. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets and sprinkle them lightly with the fleur de sel.

Bake the wafers about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Halfway through, switch the sheets top to bottom and rotate them front to back them to ensure even baking. Remove the wafers to a wire rack to cool. They will keep for up to five days in an airtight container.

For the Hummus:
In a large saucepan over high heat, add the pistachios and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes or until they soften. Drain and reserve on the counter top.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the pistachios, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, espelette and garlic. Process until smooth, about 4 minutes. Slowly incorporate 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

When ready to serve sprinkle the top of the hummus with the paprika, the remaining olive oil and the parsley. Serve with thinly sliced county ham and the benne crackers.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!