21 October 2010
There is something about puff pastry that is irresistible. Buttery, flaky, light layers of dough that melts in your mouth instantly and comes frozen. I buy very little prepared foods in the grocery, but I have tried making my own puff pastry many times and too rarely get consistent results. Not to mention I have to start it about 4 days in advance of my recipe to account for chilling etc. So I purchase puff pastry with gladness in my heart, that someone thought to put it in a box and sell it! Cheese Straws are the 12 minute beauties that can come from puff pastry any day of the week. We love to eat them instead of bread and dip 'em in various sauces. So simple, so elegant (stand them upright in a clear glass cylinder vase) and so delicious. The sky is the limit on variations, I often wrap with proscuitto, bacon, chopped nuts and fresh herbs. Use whatever cheese you have on hand that melts well and I think the Microplane zester does the best job for grating my cheese really finely for these cheese straws. This week I had a cooking class at The Market and made Cheese Straws with homemade Black Olive Tapenade....yummy. I've made them several times, yet these were a bit of a rush job and I didn't roll out the puff pastry enough, so ugly and yet so tasty. (Note to baker...roll out the pastry at least 2 inches on each side.)
Feel free to get creative with your favorite cheeses and flavor combos, fresh herbs and spices. Enjoy!
2 sheets Puff Pastry sheets, defrosted at room temperature or overnight in the fridge
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Freshly ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry dough out to 10X12 inches, approx. 2 inches on each side.
Beat egg and water together.
Brush pastry with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with cheeses, herbs, seeds and pepper. Lightly press into dough by running rolling pin over flavorings.
Cut each piece into 1 inch slices. Twist each strip and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. Be careful not to over bake. Cool and serve at room temperature.
BLACK OLIVE TAPENADE
1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted
1 clove Garlic
1/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
Pop everything into the food processor and pulse until a finely ground paste.
If you are using on puff pastry, you may need to bake straws an additional 2-3 minutes.