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Cheese Twists

by James Morton

Add your own twist to recipe by adding extra tasty ingredients. A few I’ve tried and can heartily recommend involve finely chopped bacon, pancetta and, of course, a good grating of cheddar cheese on top. Go wild.

Prep time

40 minutes

Cook time

30 minutes






Sometimes, a recipe surprises me. When I first tried this particular one, my own two-ingredient conception, I was sceptical of whether it would work at all. As I twisted the floppy puff pastry into a spiral and the grated filling fell everywhere, I was not confident the limp cheesy sticks would turn out. How wrong I was. The contrast in appearance between pre and post-oven is striking. Puff pastry forgives. The shop-bought stuff, especially the packets labelled ‘All-butter’, is a brilliant ingredient that not even the most brilliant baker should be scared of using. It’s not cheating; it’s just common sense.

As you can see, the ingredients list is quite bare. This is deliberate – I’m not going to do that so-clichéd thing of adding a personalised ‘twist’ onto my cheese twists to make it somehow different or interesting. That twist is up to you. Obviously, the things that make a cheesy pastry twig better involve salty meat or, indeed, just more cheese. A few I’ve tried since and can heartily recommend involve finely chopped bacon, pancetta and, of course, a good grating of cheddar cheese on top. Go wild.


Step 1

Start by preheating your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper (non-stick greaseproof paper).

Step 2

Flour a clean work surface, and place your block of pastry on top. Flour the top, and gently roll it out into a long rectangle, until it is the thickness of a £1 coin (actually use a coin to check). You want to keep the shape as straight-sided as possible.

Step 3

Place a wee block of butter into a cup and heat it in the microwave until melted. Brush this lightly over your rolled out pastry.

Step 4

Trim off the very sides of your pastry to make it as perfect a rectangle as you can manage, then slice your sheet of pastry into two. These should be roughly square.

Step 5

Think of these sheets as two buttered pieces of bread. You now want to make a cheese sandwich with them, using finely grated parmesan cheese. The buttered side should face inwards. Once you have this, press down so that the two sides stick together as much as possible.

Step 6

Cut your pastry cheese sandwich into strips about 1cm thick, then place them on your prepared tray. Twist them around and around into a spiral, squeezing the very ends to seal them together.

Step 7

If you like, sprinkle your twists with more cheese and bake them for 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy. Leave them a little while before enjoying, as they will crisp up more as they cool.


Top Tip:

There is a temptation, in any puff pastry recipe, to crank the heat up for a crispy, golden brown crust. This doesn’t work – all that you end up with is a burnt outside and a soggy, greasy middle. If cheese twists aren’t crisp and light, they fail. Bake these low and slow and this will stop the cheese burning whilst cooking the puff pastry all the way through.




  • One block of all-butter puff pastry
  • 100g block of parmesan (or other dried Italian) cheese
  • Graham’s butter, for brushing