Savory Pie Crust Za'atar Cookies & How to Cheese Board

If you follow me on Instagram you probably know that we spent this past Thanksgiving in Boston. It was loads of fun, but I suspect that since we were on the road I didn't get my Thanksgiving cooking and baking out of my system. When I got back, I kept playing with pie crust, one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods. Yes, pie crust all on its own.
Sini Fulvi Drunken Goat Cheese
I fell in-love with Kate McDermott's (The Art of The Pie) butter pie crust dough. In order to achieve the flakiness, and some call it a shortcut, I grated the chilled butter into the flour using a big hole grater. Then I worked the dough from there as instructed. I also rolled out the dough at first as shown in the directions here before finishing rolling it out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin.
Humbolt Fog Grande
Since I really wished to highlight the flaky pie dough, I brushed it with a bit of egg wash and topped it with za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix usually made with thyme, marjoram, oregano, toasted sesame seeds and salt. Za'atar can be purchased online or at Middle Eastern grocers. Some main stream supermarkets may carry it as well. You can top the savory pie crust cookies with sesame seeds, poppy or any spice mix or seed your heart desires.

Top left: Manchego El Trigal aged 6 months; Bottom left: Amadeus Schardinger
The Pie Crust Savory Za'atar Cookies were addictive. I primarily baked them to jazz up a cheese board I serve during parties around the holidays. The za'atar cookies go best with semi-firm to firm mild cheeses or just as an accompaniment on the side.
Jarlsberg in the back
My cheese platter this time consisted of:

1. Savory Pie Crust Za'atar Cookies and variety of crackers and slices of breads
2. Quince Jam and Fig Chutney or any other jams you like.
3. 5-6 cheeses varying from soft like brie to semi-firm and firm. Also from mild cheeses to more pungent varieties like blue cheese and Tallegio. I also do take into account shapes, colors and textures of the cheeses and rinds for contrast and interest. You can make an all American themed cheese plate. This time I used:
    A. Humbolt Fog Grande, Cypress Grove Chèvre (American)
    B. Sini Fulvi Drunken Goat Cheese (Spanish)
    C. Manchego El Trigal aged 6 months (Spanish)
    D. Amadeus Schardinger (Austrian. I don't know the particular for this brand)
    E. Tallegio CA D'Ambros (Italian. Not pictured. I'm so obsessed with it! Always in the fridge!)
    F. Jarlsberg (Norwegian. I had it in my fridge!)
4. A cluster of grapes (I never include citrus or tangy fruits)
5. Olives
Cheese needs to breath at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, some say an hour, before serving.
I had photographing cheeses on my bucket list, so I am happy I had a good excuse to do so. Another post will be coming out shortly with assembled cheese board photos.

BTW, the savory pie crust za'atar cookies go really well with tea and soup too.

Savory Pie Crust Za'atar Cookies

1/2 pie crust dough
Some flour for dusting
1 egg, whisked

Dust rolling surface and rolling pin with some flour and roll out the dough to desired thickness. I rolled it out to 2/8 inch thickness. Form rounds with desired cookie cutter. Mine was 1 1/2 inches radius. Lay 1/2 inch apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least an hour before baking.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Brush the savory cookies' tops lightly with an egg wash, sprinkle with some za'atar and bake the za'atar cookies for 12-14 minutes (oven temperatures vary).

Author's note: You can make the pie crust dough up to 3 days ahead and keep it refrigerated. These za'atar cookies were best rolled out and baked the day of. Though I couldn't resist munching on the leftovers the next day, even if a day's old consistency changes the flakiness.


  1. Fabulous food! Those cookies sound wonderful.



  2. Lovely cookies!! And I never knew that about leaving cheese out before serving (I probably should have known, though!)

  3. Those cookies look delicious and I love the cheese and jam platter!!

  4. That's a cheese plate that I could cozy up to - sounds perfect! And I love the flavor in these cookies.

  5. Perfectly balanced cheese board! A little savory, a little sweet, and a variety of cheese. And those savory pie crust cookies are absolutely brilliant!

  6. Those are some gorgeous photos of cheese. I wish I could dive right in. Plus I love za'atar, I put it on everything. I know I'd be munching on those cookies.