Nathan Outlaw’s Cornish Crackler cheese straws
Fancy a chic cheese straw? Then look no further.
150g Davidstow Cornish Crackler cheddar, finely grated
200g plain flour smoked paprika (or spice of choice)
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
Freshly ground black pepper
1 free-range egg yolk
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7, 220°C (425°F). Lightly grease a large baking sheet and cover it with greaseproof paper. Put the cheese into a mixing bowl. Sift in the flour and add a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Add some freshly-ground black pepper and mix. Cut the butter into little cubes and rub them into the mixture with your fingertips. When the butter has almost disappeared into the flour and you have a crumbly mixture, stir in the egg yolk with a butter knife.
Gather the pastry into a ball of dough. Dust the work surface with plenty of flour. Carefully roll out the cheese dough into a rough square. It should be about 5mm thick. Neaten the edges with the side of your hand.
With a sharp knife, cut the square into strips, then each strip into fingers and sprinkle with poppy seeds if required. Gently lift them onto the lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes. The cheese straws should be a very pale golden brown. They are fragile when they come out of the oven, so leave them to sit for 5 minutes before you try to move them. Then carefully lift up the baking parchment and transfer everything to a wire rack to cool for a few more minutes.