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Christmas cheese straws and stars

  • for lots of people
  • takes 25 minutes to make and 12-15 minutes to cook, plus cooling
These scrumptious seasonal treats are perfect for the school fete or a festive party.

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INGREDIENTS

40g butter, chilled and cut into little cubes, plus A little extra for greasing
80g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
60g mature Cheddar, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
1 large free-range egg, beaten

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with a little butter. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheese and mix together.

2. Add half the beaten egg and stir into the flour until the mixture starts to come together, then use your hands to work it into a ball.

3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and roll out half the pastry into a rectangle, about 3mm thick, using a rolling pin. Cut widthways into straws, about 5mm wide. Roll out the remaining pastry and use a 8cm star-shaped cutter to cut out 12 stars, re-rolling the pastry if necessary.

4. Carefully put the straws and stars on the baking sheets, leaving a little space between them. Sprinkle with extra cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Ask an adult to remove the trays from the oven. Cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheets, then carefully pick them up with a palette knife and put them on a cooling rack. Eat warm or cool and store in an airtight container.

  • Making cheese straws is a great way to learn about pastry. Make this recipe with other cheeses, such as Red Leicester, Cheshire or Parmesan.

From December 2008

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