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Tag Archives: puff pastry

Pimped-Up Cheese Straws

Pimped-Up Cheese and Bacon Straws - perfect served warm with a frosty drink

Pimped-Up Cheese Straws

I love a cheese straw. These are dead easy – you could make them with just pastry, cheese and an egg – but with a few simple additions (obviously leave out the ham if you want them vegetarian) they’re extra tasty.

Not the most exact recipe – measurements are all going to depend how big your pastry is rolled out and how finely you grate your cheese. My top tip is to grate the cheese finely as you use less and actually get more flavour.

 

Pimped-up Cheese Straws

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry, chilled
  • Flour for dusting
  • 2-3 tsp of mustard – your favourite type
  • About 8 tbsp grated cheese – I used a mix of parmesan and strong cheddar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 pack (about 6 slices) Parma ham or similar
  • 1 egg

Pre heat the oven to 220C and get a couple of baking sheets ready. Flour a clean, dry surface and spread out the chilled pastry. Roll it out a little thinner – you should have a fairly large rectangle. With the longest side of the rectangle closest to you, smear the mustard in a thin layer over half the sheet of pastry, like a page of a book. Sprinkle about two thirds of the cheese over the mustard, followed by most of the rosemary – keep about a teaspoon back. Lay the Parma ham over the cheese, covering as much of the area as possible, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the ham.

 

Fold the uncovered half of the pastry over the top, like you’re closing a book. Press the outer edges together to seal it a bit, then use the rolling pin to flatten it all out a bit more and squidge it all together. You should still have a rectangle shape, so with the longest side towards you again, use a very sharp knife to cut from top to bottom in strips about an inch wide. Give each strip a couple of twists and place on your baking sheets, leaving some room between each one as they’ll puff up when cooked. Beat up the egg and brush each twist, then sprinkle with the remaining chopped rosemary (and any cheese crumbs left over). Bake for 10-15 minutes – they’re done when golden and delicious smelling (check the underside also looks cooked). These are at their best still warm.

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Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

I got a bit of a bargain from the greengrocer yesterday – three ripe pineapples for a pound! I gave one to a friend, I’ve kept one for eating raw and decided I’d do some baking with the other. I’ve had an urge to make rough puff pastry for a little while so I came up with the idea of making pineapple turnovers. To take a short cut with this recipe you could either use ready made puff pastry or tinned pineapple, drained and cooked with the other ingredients for long enough to infuse the flavours.

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

For the rough puff pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 190g cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 125ml cold water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a spoon or fork to toss it around in the flour so it gets coated. Mix the water and lemon juice together and pour it in with the flour and butter mixture. Use a butter or dinner knife (something that isn’t sharp) to cut across the flour and butter; keep cutting and turning the bowl and eventually it will all come together.

Once the dough has formed into a big lump, tip it onto a well floured surface and form it into a rough brick shape (be as quick as possible to avoid the heat of your hands melting the butter). Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 30x20cm. Fold a third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over that. Turn 90 degrees and then roll out again to the same dimensions and repeat the folding process. Keep rolling, folding and turning until you’ve done this about 6-8 times. You should be left with a fairly soft dough that you can still see flecks of butter in. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for several hours (preferably overnight).

For the boozy pineapple filling

  • 1 medium/large pineapple
  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 2 tbsp vodka
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp caster sugar to finish

Heat the oven to 160C. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the pineapple, cut into quarters lengthways and remove the hard core. Chop into small chunks (about the same size as you’d get in a tin of pineapple) and put in an ovenproof bowl or dish. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a stir. Bake, uncovered, for an hour, stirring from time to time to ensure everything is coated and no bits of pineapple are drying out. Remove the cooked pineapple from the liquid and leave to cool completely.

When you’re ready to cook your turnovers, heat your oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take the pastry out of the fridge and on a floured surface roll out to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut into squares and put a heaped spoon of the pineapple in the middle of each square. Fold one corner to the opposite and press the sides down so they stick. Brush the top with a little milk or egg wash, sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each turnover and snip a couple of slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Place on the prepared baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. They’re done when they’re golden and puffed up.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little if you’re serving warm; or cool on a wire rack if you’re planning to have them cold.

Any left over pineapple is delicious served with plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream, as is the liquid the fruit was cooked in. If you wanted to omit the booze, use a splash of orange juice as your cooking liquor.