Recipe

Sundried tomato & pesto straws

by Beca Lyne-Pirkis

Buttery, flaky twists of puff pastry with a rich savoury flavour

Ingredients

For the rough puff pastry:
275g plain flour
1 tbsp tomato powder
½ tsp salt
200g unsalted butter, cold & cubed
1 tbsp lemon juice
200ml ice cold water (you may not need it all)
1 egg to glaze
Extra butter to grease

For the sundried tomato pesto:
200g sundried tomatoes
100g pecorino cheese, grated plus an extra 50g
1 large handful of basil leaves
100g pine nuts, toasted
2 large cloves of garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
Enough olive oil to loosen the pesto, between 100-150ml

Method

To make the rough puff pastry, put the flour, tomato powder and salt into a large bowl and add the cold cubed butter. Using a round-edged knife, stir the butter into the flour so that the butter is coated. 

Add the lemon juice and enough of the water to bind the dough, adding 1 tbsp at a time if that’s easier. It shouldn’t be sticky or wet, but moist and lumpy from the cubes of butter.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a brick by gently patting and bringing the dough together with lightly floured hands. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a long rectangle (around 45cm x 15cm) then fold the dough in 3, like a business letter, by folding the bottom ⅟3 up over the middle ⅟3, then the top ⅟3 down to cover them.

Turn the dough and repeat the process of rolling out and folding, before wrapping it in clingfilm and putting it in the fridge to chill and rest for between 15-30 mins. Repeat the rolling out and folding process 2-3 more times and chill for a final 20 mins before you need to use it.

Once the pastry has chilled, roll it out to a thickness of around 5mm and cut in half so you have 2 rectangles. Place the 2 rectangles on 2 lightly buttered baking sheets, prick with a fork and place in the fridge to rest for 20 mins.

While the pastry is chilling for the final time, make the sundried tomato pesto by placing all the ingredients into a food processor, then pulse until it forms a paste. Gradually add the olive oil to loosen the mixture and taste to check the seasoning. 

You can store the pesto in the fridge for up to one month, or you can freeze in an ice cube tray and add to pasta for a quick lunch, or to sauces to add flavour. Use within 3 months. Grate the extra pecorino and set to one side.

Grease a large baking sheet with butter. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a large rectangle, then cover half of the dough with the pesto. Fold the other half over the filling and then neaten up the edges. 

Glaze the pastry with a beaten egg and cut long strips of the dough, around 1½ cm in thickness. Twist each strip and place them as straight as possible on the greased baking sheet. Leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge while the oven heats up to 200C.

Sprinkle the extra pecorino on top of the straws and bake for around 20-25 mins, or until they’re golden brown and puffed up. Leave to cool on a wire rack and store in a tin in a cool dark place. Eat within 1-2 days.

Recipe: Beca Lyne-Pirkis