The inaugural recipe is the Asiago Cheese Puffs. These were such a hit that their presence was requested at subsequent parties. Who could ask for better guests than these?!
Meet the Cast…
Asiago Cheese - Asiago, a cow’s milk cheese, has been produced for centuries in the Veneto region of Italy. Puff Pastry - Puff pastry is a light, flaky pastry made from layers of specially prepared pastry dough. The pastry puffs when baking causing the layers to separate.
Two notes about the puff pastry…
The puff pastry, which is frozen when purchased, must be thawed in order to be workable. Defrost at room temperature for two hours or in the fridge overnight.
Note: The puff pastry should always be cold to the touch. Once it begins to warm, it becomes difficult to work with. If the pastry becomes too warm, wrap it gently and return to the refrigerator until it is firm.
Butter Puff Pastry (450 g, 2 pre-rolled 10”x10” sheets)
Egg White (1 egg white will suffice for more than two packages, 4 sheets)
Grated Asiago Cheese (can be found already grated, in your deli section)
Kosher Salt (can be found in any grocery, preferable to table salt)
Freshly Ground Pepper (come on! pre-ground pepper should be banished from your kitchen)
Non-stick Baking Sheet
Wire Cooling Racks
1. Take out all ingredients and supplies required. Make sure that you have a clean and ready workspace. Leave the puff pastry in the refrigerator until you are ready to work with it. Work with one sheet at a time.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Take your egg. Separate yolk from white. Discard yolk or set aside for another recipe (This might be a good time to learn to make custard… Mini Custard Tarts will appear in an upcoming email.)
4. Whisk egg white with a tablespoon of water. You have now made your egg wash.
5. Unroll pastry and lay on clean countertop or cutting board.
6. Slice pastry in half, then into strips. If you would like to make dramatically long puff pastry sticks, do not cut the sheets into half. You can cut approximately 15 – 20 strips, depending on the desired width.
7. Brush pastry with egg wash. This becomes the glue that will keep your Asiago cheese and seasoning on the pastry.
8. Sprinkle pastry with Asiago cheese, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Pat gently to ensure that everything adheres to the dough.
9. Now, this is where you can add your own flair to the puffs. You can twist the puffs… lay them flat… roll them into medallions… whatever your heart desires. I, however, enjoy the classic twist.
10. Lay each pastry twist (or whatever) on the non-stick baking sheet. Once you have filled your sheet, place in the warm oven for 12 minutes.
11. Check your puffs after 12 minutes to test crispness. Depending on your preference and how you will be serving the puffs, you may want them to be more crisp or more tender. Bake no longer than 15 minutes.
12. Puffs should be golden brown and flaky. Transfer to a cooling rack. If preparing in advance, store in an airtight container until ready to serve. If serving right away, ensure that the cheese has cooled slightly or risk burned mouths and tense “compliments” to the chef.