The new baker: Cheese straws with chilli and smoked paprika

Date:22-11-2013 08:58:34 read:5

The new baker: Cheese straws with chilli and smoked paprika

Lightly spicy, salty, buttery and sinfully good


60g (2oz) unsalted butter
00g (3oz) plain flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
⅛ tsp sweet smoked paprika
180g (6oz) extra-sharp cheddar cheese coarsely grated
1 tbsp full-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Dice the butter and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the flour, salt, chilli flakes and smoked paprika and pulse the ingredients together until the flour takes on a yellowish hue and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheese to the bowl and pulse again until there are no large pieces of cheese remaining. Add the milk and pulse to bring the dough together into a crumbly ball.

Transfer to a floured worktop. Bring the dough together into a flattened ball and roll to a thickness of ½cm (¼in). When rolling out the dough aim for a rectangle measuring roughly 18x26cm (7x10in). It doesn’t matter if the shape is not precise as the straws can all be different lengths. Cut the dough into thin strips just over 1cm (½in) wide, going down the width of your rectangle. Very carefully, transfer them to a parchment-lined baking-tray. (They are so fragile you might find it easier to cut the dough on the tray.)

Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Because this is pastry it is best not to undercook, so wait until you see a little browning around the edges; it will also be much more appealing to the eye that way when served.

Once the straws are cooked, remove the tray from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When the straws are cold lift them very carefully off the tray and arrange for serving, though you won’t have people complaining about broken straws.

The only thing they might argue about is who gets the last one.

These keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or two.

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