Greetings, fellow humanoids, and I wish you all an annus mirabilis. I’m writing this in a Pret a Manger in Reading, so I couldn’t not start with a picture of the greatest coffee shop pastry known to man, the ham, cheese, bacon and tomato croissant. Ham AND bacon. That’s how awesome this is.
Anyway, that’s by the by. The main reason for posting is to share with you the recipe for my favourite party food, cheese and pesto pastries:
These always go down a treat with guests (and housemates (and family)) whenever I make them, and they are the easiest way to use up leftover cheese. You will need a roll of puff pastry (or a block rolled out, but a roll is easier), red pepper pesto (regular red works as well, but it’s not as nice) and cheddar.
Grate the cheddar, enough to cover the sheet of pastry. I don’t have a weight for this, I’m afraid, I always do it by eye. Then lay the pastry out on a floured surface, or on a sheet of baking paper. Spread pesto so it covers the pastry, with about a 1cm gap around the edge (you should still have about a third of a jar of pesto left, which is great to stuff a chicken breast with). Sprinkle on the cheese and roll the pastry along the longest edge, keeping it nice and tight. With the sharpest knife you trust yourself to handle, cut the pastry into pin wheels, about 1cm thick (under half an inch). Don’t worry if they lose their shape a bit, you can always reshape them.
Stick them on a baking tray with baking paper for 15 minutes at 180 degrees C, let them rest for a minute, then transfer them to a beautiful plate in a pretty pattern. They are quite greasy, so you might want to hand out paper serviettes to your guests! If you cut them fine enough you can get about 25 from one sheet of pastry!
Voila, an easy, tasty pastry treat that takes no more than 25 minutes, beginning to end. You can make them the night before and leave them uncooked in the fridge as well.