Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cheese Squares

Today I made Cheese Squares for the closing program at my daughters preschool, which is tomorrow afternoon. I signed up to bring an appetizer-type food and I wanted to pick something that did not have to be kept either warm or cold. I found this recipe in a book I checked out of the library called Ethnic Chicago Cookbook and it says this rich pastry appetizer is from restaurateur Ivan Kenessey from Hungary.

As you may recall, in a previous post I was looking for cake flour and thought it was flour with baking soda and salt added. I was wrong, that is how you make self-rising flour. After Googleing it I learned that you can add some cornstarch to regular flour as a substitute for cake flour, but it is not highly recommended. On my first trip to my grocery store I looked for cake flour, but didn't see any. So I did the Google search and then went back to the store for cornstarch and that is when I found the cake flour - right next to the cornstarch! On the cake flour box it says it is sifted 27 more times than all-purpose flour. So my question is this: How does adding cornstarch to all-purpose flour make it like cake flour? I have no idea. I guess that is why it isn't highly recommended.



4 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
2 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream
3 large egg yolks
1 whole large egg
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, divided

In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine butter, flours, cream, egg yolks and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Beat on low speed , gradually increasing to medium speed until a ball of dough forms. Gather dough together, flatten between two sheets of wax paper, refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle with a floured rolling pin. Transfer dough to freezer for about 5 minutes to allow dough to firm up.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Return dough to work surface. Beat whole egg, brush over top of dough. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Transfer squares to ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 1/4 inch between squares. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack, cool completely.


They turned out really good, very pastry-like dough, with a salty taste from the cheese. My daughter had fun helping me measure and pour the ingredients into the stand mixer bowl, and she giggled like crazy when we turned it on and she got a puff of flour in the face. It was also the first time I let her use a knife; it was a butter knife with which I let her cut the butter into chunks.

After they were all done and the kitchen was clean, my husband took our daughter to a fire station where a friend of his works. On the way home they stopped at Portillo's and brought me a juicy beef and cheese fries. Isn't he the best?!

Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. The cheese squares sound awesome! I'd like to try them.

    I think the reason you can add corn starch to flour to simulate cake flour is that the corn starch is lighter in weight and texture. I think it gives the flour a lighter consistency overall. Don't quote me on this one, it's just a guess!! I'm sure using cake flour is a much better option.

    Your husband brought you juicy beef and cheese fries? He sounds like a keeper!