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Cheese straws November 11, 2009

Posted by Helen in nibbles.
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I love cheese straws and make them fairly often, using my mother’s recipe. But I thought for a change I’d try Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe, and I have to say they were really nice. They were  more buttery and crumbly, and less like traditional pastry than the ones I usually make, but still very good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
150g mature cheddar cheese (or a mixture of cheddar and parmesan – I used all cheddar because that’s what I had on hand)
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling
Cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with butter and cover it with a piece of baking parchment.

Finely grate the cheese into a mixing bowl. Sift in the flour and add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Add freshly ground black pepper and  mix.

Cut the butter into little cubes and rub it into the mixture with your fingertips. When the butter has almost disappeared into the flour and you have a crumbly mixture, stir in the egg yolk with a butter knife.

Gather the pastry into a ball of dough (it should come together very easily). Dust the work surface with plenty of flour. Carefully roll out the cheese dough into a rough square – it should be about ¼” thick. Neaten the edges with the side of your hand.

With a sharp knife, cut the square into strips, then each strip into fingers. Gently lift them onto the lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one.

Bake for about 8 minutes, but check after 5 or 6 minutes. The cheese straws should be a very pale golden brown. They are fragile when they come out of the oven, so leave them to sit for 5 minutes before you try to move them.

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