As the Six Nations Rugby comes to a head this weekend we’re still speculating who will come out on top (you can read our Six Nations Preview here to see whether we got it right back in February). If you’re watching at home or visiting friends these cheese twists are the perfect accompaniment to whatever you’re drinking to cheer on your side.
Happily they can be baked in the time in takes for the players to sing their National Anthems. I’ve chosen a cheese topping to represent each of the six sides in the contest: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy but feel free to make substitutions.
You can improvise too: a little finely chopped garlic on the French twists or poppy seeds on the English versions perhaps?
Makes 12 twists (or six really chunky ones)
One 320g pack of ready-rolled puff pastry, chilled in the fridge. You can make your own if you desperately want to, but obviously easier not to
50g each of Old Winchester, Mount Callan, Mull of Kintyre cheddar, Parmesan, Comté and Harlech, all thickly grated. This is a little more than you’ll actually need, but you might decide to sample them as you go. You can buy plenty of the cheese at Waitrose – the Mount Callan is hardest to come by but if your local delicatessen doesn’t have it then you can substitute Irish cheddar
Plain flour, for rolling
One beaten egg, to glaze
1) Preheat your oven to 220C/200 fan/Gas Mark 7, and line a 40cm by 30cm (or bigger) baking tray with greaseproof paper
2) Dust a clean work surface with the flour, and slowly unroll the pastry from its pack onto the surface. Roll it out to the thickness of a 50p coin, then cut it in half lengthways. Lay the two pieces side by side
3) Mark out the right-hand sheet of pastry into six equal lengths by lightly scoring it with a knife.
4) Sprinkle the first of these six lengths with 25g of one of your grated cheeses, pressing it slightly into the dough. Repeat with the remaining five lengths and cheeses; make sure you keep track of what’s going where
5) Lay the second sheet of pastry onto the one you’ve just topped with the cheeses and press them together
6) Using the markings you made in the first sheet as a guide, cut the pastry-cheese sandwich into 12 strips (or six if you’re going down the extra-large route), so there are two for each country. Press the edges of each one down lightly to seal
7) Now for the tricky bit. Gently twist each strip four or five times – some cheese spillage is inevitable, but try to limit it!
8) Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the twists lightly with the beaten egg. Sprinkle each one with some of the remaining appropriate cheese, and carefully transfer them to the prepared baking tray
9) Bake in a hot oven (180 degrees) for 12 minutes, or until risen and golden. Leave to cool slightly, and serve with national pride.
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