Comté and Caraway Straws

I’m a goal-orientated person with a short attention span. So once I’ve worked out how to bake something, I move on, and set myself a new challenge. Most recently, it was macarons driving me nuts, but I got there in the end.

Lately, it’s been bread, but I’d run out of yeast in the kitchen, and my fingers were craving something really really hard. 

That’s in the mental sense, not physically.

So what do I think of?

Puff pastry.

Gives home cooks palpitations. Even the professionals say they buy it in from the supermarket. Food bloggers? They say –  I make all my puff pastry from scratch all the time – what are you waiting for?

So today I took the leap, and made it.

Well….sort of made it. Rough puff pastry is a bit of a cheat, but I was assured that it was a doddle to make in comparison to the traditional, and I wasn’t quite that willing to devote tears and tantrums to a slab of dough.

I followed the recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, intending to halve the ingredients, until I realised I’d  dumped in too much butter and water. After a little bit of backtracking with a knife and some water, a bit of folding, and rolling, and resting, and the pastry was good to go.

After all the sweet baking of late, I had an insatiable craving for something savoury. So to the rescue came Ottolenghi again with his recipe for cheese straws, adapted mildly to incorporate the thing I’m currently having for Comté.

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I’d never had caraway seeds before, and they smelt very pungent in the spice jar, so I only put the merest sprinkling onto half the cheese straws before they went into the oven. I think they add a nice subtle kick as a foil to the cheese-fest. 

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I made two batches, and you can see that in my first batch, I rolled the dough out too thinly because it was difficult to roll up properly, and I made very long, spindly cheese straws as a result. The second batch turned out better.

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Needless to say, both were incredibly moreish, and the texture was meltingly good. Another favourite.

But back to the original challenge. Did I feel that it had been worth it? Would I make rough puff again?

Well, honestly, not really.

The straws were delicious, and well worth the smiles on faces, the stuffed tummies, and the glowing feeling of being a domestic goddess. However, I don’t really use puff pastry in my usual cooking at all. And thus, it makes more sense to me to buy it rather than dedicating a whole day to making it from scratch. The whole process is simple, but you have to be organised, alert, and the kitchen becomes very messy too!

Shop puff pastry? Satisfaction, and minimal distraction. Possibly a dangerous combination where buttery goodness is concerned! 🙂

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