Monday, 27 April 2015

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws are a lovely savoury nibble, and I was in need of that after rather overloading on sweet things in the past few days.  So I set about checking some recipes.  I decided on this one, from BBC Food as it was a simple pastry, rather than the time consuming puff pastry. Of course I could have bought ready made puff pastry, but that is not something I really want to do. This recipe also had two cheeses, Cheddar and Parmesan where most of the others had only one cheese, of varying varieties.

The recipe is easy to follow, or so it seemed.  In fact it was, but I, like a fool, made the pastry and, when I went to put it in the fridge, realised the cheeses we still sitting in there waiting to be used.  So I had to add the cheese later than the recipe dictated. It didn't make any difference, that I could notice, since they turned out very well and they taste simply wonderful. Also the BBC Food recipe didn't actually say to grate the Cheddar, but I guess it has to be done, or it can't be added into the mixture.  As someone who simply hates melted cheese of any type and detests parmesan on hot food, I was surprised by just how much I loved these, once they had cooled. The inclusion of mustard powder and cayenne pepper certainly adds a very nice aftertaste.

I did cook mine for a full 18 minutes as I didn't think they looked done before then. That could have been as I cooked them at 170c Fan, rather than 190c without the fan.  I prefer using the fan, since it gives a more even spread of heat throughout the oven.  But it does mean that sometimes I have to slightly adjust the cooking time.


 Cheese Straws
Ingredients:
  • 375g/13oz plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 225g/8oz butter, diced
  • 150g/5½oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g/1¾oz freshly grated parmesan cheese (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese)
  • pinch English mustard powder
  • small pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 free-range eggs, yolks only
Method:
  1. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. 
  2. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until all the lumps are gone and the texture is like fine breadcrumbs. 
  3. Stir in the cheese, mustard powder, cayenne, and egg yolks. 
  4. Add 4-5 tablespoons of cold water and mix to a firm dough. 
  5. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  7. Roll out the dough to a square, roughly the thickness of about 1/8th inch.
  8. Cut the square in half, then cut each half into 1cm/½in strips. 
  9. Transfer carefully onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until crisp, then leave to cool on the tray.

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