how to make cheese straws with parmesan and rosemary and other easy puff pastry snacks

by Sam on February 4, 2013

cheese straws with parmesan and rosemary

This post has been in the making for a while and since I started bashing out a few snacks using the incredible new all butter puff pastry from Woolies in December. A friend of mine had given me a few packs to try. I understand it to be the only puff pastry available in the country made entirely from butter, and this can only be a good thing in my humble opinion.

Anyway I decided to take the flavour of a basic cheese straw a notch. I like a basic one, but I felt with all this fluffy and puffy pastry it needed a more robust filling to make it stand out. I decided to use Parmesan, Dijon mustard and finely chopped rosemary. I also added a sprinkle of sea salt because these are lovely savoury nibbles which are perfect served with drinks.

They really are so easy to make. Follow the pack instructions on how to thaw the puff pastry (this is important), and working as quickly as possible so that the pastry doesn’t warm up too much, do the following:

  1. Pre heat he oven to 180C and line a large baking sheet with silicone or baking paper.
  2. Lay the sheet of pastry out and spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard evenly over one half.
  3. Finely chop rosemary (a few stalks) and scatter this evenly over the mustard.
  4. Grate Parmesan cheese (just under half a cup) and sprinkle this on top of the rosemary and Dijon (a light sprinkle of sea salt is entirely optional here).
  5. Fold the pastry over the filling and using a rolling pin gently roll over it so as to ‘glue’ the top and bottom and filling together.
  6. Brush the surface of the pastry rectangle with a lightly beaten egg.
  7. Cut the pastry into thinnish strips ( I find using a pizza cutter best for this).
  8. Twist the strips twice and place them on a baking tray allowing a little space in between as the pastry expands during baking.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool before serving.

cheese straws with parmesan and rosemary

cheese straws with parmesan and rosemary

Another easy thing to make with puff pastry are pesto parmiers. Simply spread a layer of pesto evenly over a sheet of puff pastry, roll opposite ends up so that they meet in the middle, slice into discs and bake at 180 C until golden.

I also made a quick and easy ‘pizza’ tart in my Big Green Egg and when I was making my aubergine ‘pizza’s‘. Simply place a sheet of pastry on a baking tray and score an indentation with a knife, about 1 cm in from the edge. Spread tomato sauce or tomato passata lightly over the  middle square, top with fresh tomato and m mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes. You can of courses add whatever toppings you like. I served this basic cheese and tomato tart with fresh basil leaves and it was delicious.

And while I was at it, I knocked out a few quick jam turnovers with puff pastry which I had cut into rounds using a cookie cutter. I filled them with small dollop of pear and Pinotage preserve / jam I had lying around in my fridge. I brushed egg wash around the edge of the rounds, folded them over and pinched down on the rim to seal the pastry. A light dusting of icing sugar over the little babies made an instant sweet tea treat. Any jam would work here.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine February 5, 2013 at 8:19 am

These look really good! I didnt even know woolies had such a thing! Must pop in and get some!

Mariana February 5, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hi Sam. I have tried this pastry a few times with great success. I used to have a ceramic pie funnel (which I bought at least 20 yrs ago) to prevent the pastry drooping into the filling whilst baking but unfortunately it has disappeared. I have been unable to find something similar at any of the usual retailers….do you perhaps know if they are still available?

Sam February 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

HI Mariana, glad it has worked out – it is fabulous. I actually saw one at a flea market the other day, a vintage ceramic bird pie holder. I have definitely seen more modern funnel ones but cant remember where. Where are you based? If in CT I would try Banks in Salt River, the Baking Tin, Claremont and Ottery, otherwise any other specialist kitchen shops. You will find one. I will also keep an eye out.
Sam

Sam February 5, 2013 at 9:59 am

Hi Heidi, you jut keep them in the freezer so as soon as you want to make a quite dessert or pie, you simply whip it out and thaw.

usha singh February 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

Love this pastry and you have shared some great ideas–i normally make pies with a filling of curried potatoes, mix veg or green lentils. Will have to give the cheese straws a try–actually i will take the pastry out of the freezer right now so i do not forget.

Mariana February 5, 2013 at 11:38 am

Thanks, Sam, for the suggestions. Incidentally the pie funnel you saw at the flea market sounds much like my old one which was in the shape of a white duck with its open yellow beak pointing upwards…I’m so bummed that it’s gone. I’m in Cape Town, by the way.

Sam February 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm

HI Mariana, if I ever see the open mouthed duck again. I can buy it for you? what would be the price you are prepared to pay? I am am constantly in these sorts of places and would happily keep a look out :-)

Sam February 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Hi Usha, I love curried veggie pies, thanks for ht idea, that is next on the list and perhaps to feed my vegetarian family members :-)

Jordyn February 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Hi there :)

I can’t wait to try out these puff pastry sheets! Weeh!

Mariana, you can buy pie birds on Yuppiechef:

http://www.yuppiechef.co.za/kitchen-craft-bakeware.htm?id=1304&name=Kitchen-Craft-Traditional-Blackbird-Pie-Funnel&ref=search

Jordyn x

Sonia - L' Exquisit April 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Since you posted this way to make the puff pastry, I have prepared the cheese straws countless times …. thanks for the recipe!

Sam April 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Thats awesome Sonia, thanks for letting me know :-)

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