Use bought puff pastry to make these cheese straws, add freshly grated Parmesan and you can have a stylish canapé ready to go in under half an hour. They will keep in an air-tight container for a few days. Vary the master recipe using different cheeses, spices, mustard, and even horseradish sauce.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of cold water
375g sheet frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, defrosted
170g freshly grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and brush with the olive oil.
2. Roll the puff pastry sheet on a floured board (you need to do this to thin it out as it seizes up in the packet). Brush the pastry with egg on one side – it helps the cheese to stick to the pastry. Sprinkle over an even layer of grated Parmesan and press it with the rolling pin gently into the pastry. Cut the pastry sheet into 3/4 inch strips, twist each strip and lay on the baking sheets. Bake until golden (about 10 minutes). Serve warm or cold.
Cheese Straw Recipe Variations
– You can substitute any hard cheese for the Parmesan in this recipe. Cheddar, Gruyere, Comté, Pecorino – any full-flavoured cheese that melts works. If the cheese isn’t salty, you may need to sprinkle a little salt over the puff pastry.
– Herb Cheese Straw Recipe: Add any herb to the pastry: sprinkle on fresh or dried thyme leaves, dried oregano, finely chopped mint, marjoram or dill. Roll the herbs into the pastry before you sprinkle it with cheese – if you put the herbs on top of the cheese, they will burn.
– Spicy Cheese Straw Recipe: To make a spicier cheese straw, brush a light covering of mustard or horseradish sauce over the pastry or sprinkle on finely chopped chilli before you add the cheese.
– Curry Cheese Straw Recipe: Brush curry paste over the pastry (you won’t need the egg this time), sprinkle on cumin or coriander seeds, top with cheese and bake.
Recipe for quick breadsticks made from pizza dough
– You can also make quick breadsticks using pizza dough: let the dough rise once, knead it lightly to knock the air out of it, roll small pieces of the dough into long strips and bake, one inch apart, at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 10-15 minutes. Glaze them with beaten egg so they turn golden. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds for crunch. Knead chopped herbs, fried onions, fried bacon bits or small nuggets of sundried tomatoes into the dough to make a flavoured breadstick.
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