I promised you recipes that use the gluten-free puff pastry recipe I posted yesterday–and here is the first one! Cheese straws are something I always yearn for when I see them at parties. Someone always makes them (because they are easy to make with frozen puff pastry) and they look so good. So delicate, crunchy, cheesy. Yum. Well now I (and you) can make my own cheese straws!
This recipe is very easy and can be adapted to whatever amount of puff pastry dough you have and to whatever cheese you want to use. And they pack a punch, presentation-wise. They always look so elegant–especially if you serve them in a champagne glass or another equally elegant container.
I adapted this recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl. This is one of those must-have books. It has recipes for just about everything and they always come out well.
The original recipe called for 1 package of frozen puff pastry, which is about 17.25 oz. The puff pastry recipe I posted yesterday makes a bit more pastry (21 oz)–but this is just fine. But, really, you can use any amount of pastry dough–because the amount doesn’t matter. You just grate the amount of cheese that will cover the amount of dough you have. I will give basic amounts, but feel free to experiment and do what you like.
Cheese Straws, Gluten-Free
-adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl
Special Equipment Needed
-measuring tape or ruler
1 recipe Gluten-Free puff pastry dough (makes about 21 oz. of dough)
-you may also use whatever amount you have
1/2 C grated cheese of your choice (I like parmesan or cheddar)
-grate this on a microplane grater or on the second to smallest grating surface on your box grater
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tsp water (for egg wash)
Coarse salt (optional)
Extra tapioca flour for rolling the dough
Bring your dough to working temperature. Working temperature is cool but not rock hard. It should be fairly easy to roll out, but not so warm that it sticks to the rolling surface. If you have it in the freezer, already frozen in a sheet, take it out and warm on kitchen counter for about 10 minutes. If your dough is in the refrigerator, in a lump, take it out of the fridge and leave on kitchen counter for 45 minutes-1 hour (or less time if the ambient temperature is hot).
Grease your baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Sprinkle tapioca flour onto your rolling surface and onto your rolling pin.
Roll out your dough into a rough rectangle or square that is about 1/8″ thick. Don’t worry about ragged edges–you will cut off those later. Measure your dough and cut in half.
Brush both halves of the dough with the egg wash. Be careful that it doesn’t drip down the sides of the dough–this will hinder the rising action. Sprinkle 1 of the dough halves with a light layer of your grated cheese.
Take the dough half that doesn’t have the cheese and put it onto the cheese-sprinkled half, egg-wash side down. You now have two pieces of dough sandwiched together with cheese/egg wash in the middle.
Gently but firmly roll across the top of the dough with your rolling pin to release any air bubbles. Now roll out the dough to make the layers adhere. You will want to roll out the dough until it is about 1/8″ thick (but no thinner!).
Now tidy your dough. With a sharp knife, cut off the raggedy ends. You should now have a fairly neat rectangle or square.
Optional: Carefully brush the top of your dough with egg wash (don’t let it drip down the sides) and sprinkle with coarse salt if using. (Note: I skip this top egg wash/salting–I find that my family likes the cheese sticks without it. But experiment and do what you like).
With a sharp knife, carefully cut your dough into 1/2 inch strips. If your dough is in a rectangle, cut the strips so they are the length of the shorter side of the dough (i.e., not overly long). The number of strips you get will depend on the amount of dough you started with.
Carefully twist the strips (but not too much–gluten-free dough is more prone to breaking than is wheat dough) and place them on your prepared baking sheet with about 1/2 inch between each. Anchor the strips to the sheet by pressing down on either end.
Place the raggedy pieces on a different prepared sheet. You can bake these, too. They just won’t look as good. And, they will bake a bit faster than the nicely-cut cheese straws.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10-14 minutes–until they are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and carefully transfer the cheese straws to a rack to cool completely.