Flaky, crisp, and cheesy, these are simple to make, and rustic-pretty. Serve them to accompany soups or salads, or as an appetizer for a spring party.
1 egg ½ cup freshly grated (finely) Parmesan cheese ½ cup finely grated sharp Cheddar cheese 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian (see Tip) 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon pepper One frozen puff pastry sheet (8 to 10 ounces), thawed
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Combine the cheeses, sesame seeds, paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper in another small bowl.
Unroll the puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board, long side toward you. Using a pastry brush, brush the top side with the egg. Sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Fold the bottom half of the dough over the cheese. Using a rolling pin, roll gently away from you to make the pastry layers stick together and to spread the dough into a 10- by 8-inch rectangle. Brush the top surface with the egg and sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture.
Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the pastry vertically into twenty ½-inch-wide strips. Twist each about 4 times into spirals as you place it on a baking sheet, pressing the ends down to hold the strip in place. Position the strips at least 1 inch apart.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Use a spatula to remove the sticks from the baking sheet and serve warm or cool on a wire rack.
The unbaked cheese sticks can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Or, wrap them tightly in foil and freeze for up to 1 month; defrost before baking. These are best when served fresh from the oven but can be kept for up to 1 day in a tightly covered container at room temperature.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.