Pailles au fromage is a family thing. It was invented by my grand-mother Mamoune. I have seen a few recipes on the web by the same name which means Cheese straws, but none of them are even close to what our cheese straws are.
As often with Mamoune’s recipes, the key is simplicity. She has to milk the cows, fix the fences, fill the water “holes”, feed the chicken, find the eggs, etc. In a few word she was a busy woman.
So the recipe is pretty straight forward : X amount of Swiss cheese in your fridge + X (the same) amount of flour + X amount of butter. You mix all that. Create little straws. In the oven for a few minutes. That’s it!
Well… it became the “guest” appetizers in our household when I was a kid. We weren’t allowed to have any… My mum knew that those were terribly addictive… This is how it became my favourite thing on Earth… Partly because it was forbidden, partly because it is deadly addictive.
One important thing to note though, these “biscuits” are good ONLY WHEN COLD. If eaten straight out of the oven, they are terrible, floury, nearly sandy… you need to be patient, put them on a cooling rack, get yourself a first beer while they get cold, then attack.
DISCLAIMER: the uncooked dough is atrociously addictive too…. I have warned you now…
- 100g (3,5 oz) Swiss cheese such as Gruyère or Emmenthal, try other cheeses, I will and will let you know.
- 100g (3,5 oz) soft, room temperature, butter
- 100g (3,5 oz) flour
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Pre-heat oven at 150°C (300°F) fan forced.
- Soften the cheese 10 sec in the microwave, then work it with a fork or small whisk. It needs to be soft, like a custard, not liquid.
- Grate the cheese. If you are a obsessional chopper like me who cannot deal with grating tools, chop the cheese in mini cubes :)
- Mix flour, cheese, butter, cumin seeds and powder.
- Spread a baking paper sheet on an oven tray.
- With a teaspoon, take a bit of dough, form a little stick the size and shape of you little finger.
- Bake for 10 mins. Actually, don't mind the minutes, just look at them. Careful it's quite quick, depending on your oven of course. As they are quick to cook (and therefore burn) it is better to use a fan-forced program of your oven to get an even temperature and avoid having one part of the tray overcooked. When they have reached a nice yellow a tiny bit orange colour, take them out. Delicately with tongs (Australian way of calling the pinching tool) take them from the tray to a cooling rack.
- Let them get completely cold before you serve them.
Let’s do it!