On Parmesan Twists, Redux (Christmas "Wine and Wrapping" Recipe)
I'm a sucker for Bing Crosby Christmas songs. And appetizers. And wine! And I see no better opportunity than Christmas Eve to play some "White Christmas," sit down with some great little snacks, some drinks, some company, and finish my wrapping. For this year's "Wine and Wrapping" appetizers, we did Parmesan twists and ham on Triscuits (hey, delicious doesn't have to be snobby) with a green onion and dill Neufchâtel cheese spread. (Cream cheese is fine, but Neufchâtel is usually a little less expensive. And more interesting to write.)
Since I had major--and unfounded doubts--about the sheer greatness of the Parmesan Twist, when I made them the first time I did not take photos. Tut tut. For this batch, I took some photos to illustrate what my vocabulary no doubt failed to do.
1 sheet Puff pastry, the best you can get, preferably with butter (however, if your options are to use shortening-based pastry or no puff pastry at all--because let's face it, it's not terribly quick to make--then by all means, use the shortening-based type)
About a cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
Egg wash (1 egg beat with 1 T water)
1. Let the pastry thaw. Even though you'll be using it in thirds (the way mine came frozen from the package), it will work better if you do as the directions say and let the sheet thaw before you monkey with it.
2. On a cutting board unfold your sheet; mine came in thirds.
3. Sprinkle a third of a cup of cheese down the middle of your pastry.
4. Fold the right side back over top, covering the mound of cheese.
5. Sprinkle a third of a cup of cheese down the middle of your new layer.
6. Fold the left side back over the top, covering the new mound.
7. Using a pizza cutter, slice your log into 1/2 to 3/4" slices. You should get at least a dozen.
8. Carefully move each piece to a prepared baking sheet (silicone baking mats work wonders here). Doing your best to keep the cheese inside, hold the top of the strip against your mat with one hand, and use your other hand to put one or two twists in the strip before lightly pressing the end to the mat. Some cheese will spill; it's fine. Best to put these where you want them to bake on the sheet the first time.
9. Continue with the rest of your strips.
10. Paint the tops of the twists with the egg wash, then sprinkle with remaining cheese and a light sprinkle of kosher salt.
11. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Friends, this little twists are crazy easy, cheap, impressive, and best of all, delicious. Keep a box of puff pastry in your freezer and a wedge of Parmesan in your fridge and you can make up these babies whenever you want a smart-looking appetizer.