I don’t know about you, but whenever I use puff pastry I invariably end up with leftovers. Unlike other kinds of pastry, you can’t just scrunch all the odds and ends together and re-roll it. The layers need to be kept intact; otherwise they will rise all over the place at different angles. But I hate waste, so what’s a girl to do? Well, making cheese straws is a good start.
These savoury twists make the perfect nibble with drinks or as an economical treat for the family as a homemade alternative to a bag of crisps. They’re also incredibly easy, but have the bonus of making you appear to have made an effort and gone that extra mile.
I’ve made these with all sorts of cheeses, from a simple unadulterated grating of mature Cheddar, to a mixture of the odds and sods leftover from a dinner party cheese board. You can also get imaginative when it comes to other flavours too. Cheese twists sing with a sprinkle of sesame or poppy seeds and I often shake over some smoked paprika or cayenne pepper for a bit of oomph. Cep powder adds a truffly note, or a dollop of Dijon adds warming heat. You can even add finely chopped ham or some finely chopped fresh herbs. I have even experimented with a smear of marmite, with excellently moreish results.
You can simply re-roll, twist and egg wash before baking, but I like to fold the rolled out pastry again too, for a little extra puff. It takes a little more effort, but it’s mindless, rhythmical work that transports you to a state of reflective calm and there aren’t many cheesy snacks that can promise that.