Not surprisingly, for Christmas this year I asked for mostly kitchen-related items: cookbooks, a pasta maker, etc. I was lucky enough to receive 4 new cookbooks (hooray!) and an Atlas pasta machine (more on that later!). Included in those cookbooks was Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof. To say I was excited about this cookbook is a bit of an understatement – let’s just say I read the whole thing cover to cover pretty much immediately. The first thing I made from the book were these mustard and Gruyère batons (basically a cheese straw filled with a nice little kick of Dijon mustard). The only thing I changed about the recipe was substituting Pecorino-Romano for the Parmigiano cheese. I almost always do this – we really prefer the stronger taste of Pecorino. With only a few ingredients, these come together in no time and were a huge hit at our friends’ New Year’s Eve party. Expect to see them at just about every party we host from here on out!
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Pecorino-Romano) cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- Sea salt such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel, for sprinkling
Take the puff pastry out of the freezer and allow to thaw (30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator). On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry until it is stretched to about 11 x 13 inches. With the short side facing you, spread the Dijon mustard over the bottom half of the pastry, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Fold the top half of the pastry down over the mustard, lining up the edges and pressing gently to seal. At this point, if the puff pastry is getting warm and difficult to work with, chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Whisk the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush the egg wash over the top of the puff pastry. Sprinkle the grated cheeses over the pastry. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, trim the uneven edges on the three sides of the pastry, then cut into 1 inch slices. I also cut those slices in half horizontally, yielding approximately 1″ x 3″ pieces – this is totally a matter of preference. Finish the batons with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, and return to the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.
While the batons are chilling, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Bake the batons for 15-18 minutes, until golden-brown and puffed. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing and serving.
To make the recipe even easier, prepare the batons up to 24 hours in advance and bake just before serving.
Yield: 10-20 batons, depending on size cut