Salt & Pepper Straws

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    5 to 6 dozen

    straws

Appears in

These and the variations provided are one of the best possible uses for puff pastry. They’re light, rich, flavorful, and a small amount of effort yields a large amount of tasty results. These are a perfect hors d’oeuvre pastry, and they freeze beautifully if you want to prepare them in advance.

Ingredients

  • ¼ batch Instant Puff Pastry, or about 12 ounces (350 grams) prepared all-butter puff pastry
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or other coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • Two jelly-roll pans lined with parchment or foil

Method

  1. Prepare a lightly floured work surface. Press the Instant Puff Pastry dough into a rough square, then roll it into a 12 × 18- inch (30 × 45-cm) rectangle. Roll gently, and if the dough resists, let it rest for 5 minutes, then roll again. If at any point the dough becomes too soft to handle, slide a cookie sheet under it and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After the dough is rolled, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and brush with the egg wash. Scatter the salt and pepper over half the surface of the dough, in a 12 × 9- inch (30 × 23-cm) rectangle (figure a).
  4. Fold the dough over to enclose the salt and pepper, so that the dough itself is now a 12 × 9- inch (30 × 23-cm) rectangle. Flour the work surface and the dough lightly and roll the dough back to a 12 × 18- inch (30 × 45-cm) rectangle. If the dough is beginning to soften, slide it onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate it for 15 minutes.
  5. Use a sharp pastry wheel to cut the dough into ½ inch × 12- inch (1 × 30-cm) strips, making approximately 36.
  6. Twist each strip into a corkscrew shape by positioning it at a 45-degree angle from the edge of the work surface. Roll the edge furthest from the surface toward it to make it parallel with the edge of the surface (figure b). Transfer the strips to the prepared pans, pressing the edges of the dough to the edges of the pans to prevent them from unraveling as they are baking, Chill until they are cold and firm, about 1 hour.
  7. Bake the straws for about 10 minutes, then switch the bottom pan to the top rack and vice versa, turning the pans back to front at the same time. Continue baking the straws until they are puffed, dry, and golden, 10 to 15 additional minutes.
  8. Immediately after taking the pans out of the oven, use a long sharp knife to trim the ends from the straws and to cut them in half crosswise. Cool in the pans on racks.

Serving

Serve as an hors d’oeuvre with drinks.

Storage

Keep the straws at room temperature the day they are baked. For longer storage, pack them between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover and freeze for a month or so. Defrost in a single layer and reheat at 350°F (180°C) for 5 minutes. Cool before serving.

Variations

Caraway Salt Straws: Substitute caraway seeds for the pepper.

Cheese Straws: Substitute 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian or Spanish paprika for the salt and pepper. (Adding the salt emphasizes the cheese flavor, which can be overly delicate.)

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