Cheese Straws

Cheese Twists on the buffet of a benefit where I demonstrated how to make them!  Watch the video for a little help with shaping them. 

Puff pastry is my favorite prepared food to have on hand for last-minute appetizers, entrees and desserts or pastries.  This recipe can be tailored to your personal tastes; change up the cheese and size of the cheese straws, add poppy or sesame seeds, or herbs; this is the basic method and recipe.  My husband, Barry, loves these, and calls them "Cheese Poles" because they remind him of barber poles.  I'm good with that!

Equipment needed: Pastry brush, baking sheets, parchment paper, rolling pin, pizza cutter

1 package frozen puff pastry

1 egg

1/2 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup finely-grated Asiago cheese

1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  Line 3 half-sheet pans with parchment.

Lightly dust a board or the counter top with flour. Lay the pastry out on the floured surface, then dust the pastry lightly with flour.  Roll lightly with a rolling pin to even out. 

Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water until completely homogeneous.  Brush liberally all over the puff pastry, making sure to cover every single bit of the pastry.  Combine the cheeses and black pepper well and sprinkle generously and evenly over the pastry (you may not use it all).  Lightly run the rolling pin over the cheese mixture to secure it to the pastry.

Using a pizza cutter or large chef's knife, cut the pastry in half, then quarters, then eighths, then into 24 strips. (You make them thinner or thicker, if you desire, just don't make them too thin or they won't be sturdy enough. Remember, they puff up a lot in the oven.)  If you want shorter twists, cut the pastry in half horizontally, doubling the number of twists you will get.

Lift each strip and gently twist from both ends until they look like a barber pole.  Lay on the prepared sheet pans, pressing the egg-washed side of each end down to hold the twist in place.  Repeat with all of the pieces. 

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a deep golden brown (your oven may heat and bake differently, so use your eyes and nose!).

Cool completely and serve.  These can be made 3-4 days in advance and stored in a air-tight storage container or extra-large plastic zip bag.

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