Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cheese please: Štěpánka's Czech cheese straws

Apart from mince pies and port I've spent a lot of the Christmas holidays eating these delicious caraway seed sprinkled cheese straws which are basically savoury shortbread. My mother-in-law Štěpánka makes them every year and the original recipe is from a 1939 Czech cook book given to her by her mother. I love the clean lines of the illustration on the book's cover and also the surprisingly minimal design of their platinum edged wedding dinner service seen in the photo above (it was the 1970s!).

100g grated cheese (Red Leicester or Cheddar work well)
100g butter, chilled and diced
200g plain flour
1 egg, yolk and white separated
Caraway seeds
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 200C
2. Combine the cheese, butter, flour and egg yolk into a dough (this is easiest to do in a food processor) 
3. Roll out the dough, place on baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and cut into rectangles 
4. Brush with the egg white and sprinkled over the salt and caraway seeds
5. Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown and allow to cool before breaking into rectangles and serving

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