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Puff Pastry Twists with Proscuitto, Cheese, Egg and Lemon Cream Sauce

Chef’s note: “I love working with home-made puff pastry for breakfast. It is buttery, rich and a nice complement to any type of egg or breakfast meat. Here, I bring together the salty prosciutto and the nutty P’tite Basque cheese to present a humdinger of a breakfast. The lemon sauce really cuts through the fat of the meat and adds a nice bright contrast to the prosciutto’s earthiness.”

Yields six twists.

1 1/2 pounds puff pastry

6 slices prosciutto

1 egg, plus six for service

1 tsp. water

2 ounces P’tit Basque Cheese, sliced into six pieces

1/2 tsp. thyme, chopped fine, plus 1/2 tsp. for sauce

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

1 cup whipping cream

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Roll out the puff pastry to roughly 18 inches wide by 10 inches deep. Cut out six 3-inch wide strips that are 10 inches long. Gather one piece of prosciutto into the center of each strip and top with the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together, the egg and the water. Brush the egg wash around the edges of the puff pastry strips holding the prosciutto. Take the top 1/3 of each pastry strip. Fold it at a 90-degree angle to the left and then fold the bottom 1/3 of each pastry strip to the right, creating a spiral effect. Brush the tops with the egg wash.

Sprinkle thyme leaves over the top of each twist. Place the twists in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to chill the dough (it will help it to rise more) and bake for 22-24 minutes until they are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

While the twists are baking, place the whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce to about half until the cream is thickened and it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, and add the lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the eggs to your desired preference (we liked them poached for this dish). When the twists are ready, remove them from the oven. Place an egg on each twist and drizzle the sauce over each egg and around the twist. Serve immediately.

Gluten-free: See the gluten-free option for puff pastry

Serving suggestion: salad with herb vinaigrette.

Puff Pastry

Chef’s note: “The puff pastry recipe is a variation of a recipe from Michel Roux in “Pastry: Savory and Sweet.” It is not your traditional puff pastry that can take hours. I kiddingly call this the American puff pastry as Americans have a penchant for wanting things done quickly.

Yield: 1 pound

Oven temperature: 375 degrees

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

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1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup butter, cold and cubed

1/4 cup ice cold water

This particular dough will rise to about 50-75 percent of traditional puff pastry.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers, smashing the butter into smaller chunks. The butter should be cold, just out of the refrigerator and not softened. Break down the butter into pea-sized chunks, add 2 teaspoons of water, and mix until the dough begins to hold together cohesively as a ball. Add more water as needed until the ball is formed, leaving no excess flour or butter in the bowl.

On a heavily floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 9 by 12 inches. You will see chunks of butter in the dough. Mark the dough width-wise with your finger into 3 equal sections. Fold 1/3 of the dough from the side toward the center and fold the other 1/3 on top of that. This is what is called a letter fold.

Turn the dough 1/4 turn so the longest part of the dough is toward you. Roll out the dough again into a large rectangle. Brush off the excess flour and repeat the letter fold a second time.

Roll out the dough again, dusting off excess flour, repeating the letter fold a third time. This time, do not roll it out. Cover in plastic and let the dough rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out again into a large triangle. Dust off the the excess flour and commit to one more letter fold and roll the dough out to large rectangle. Your puff pastry is now ready to use. If you are not using it immediately, letter fold the dough, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate over night.

Baking option: You can mix 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water with a whisk in a small bowl, and brush it on top of the pastry to give it extra shine as it bakes.

Gluten-free: For best results, replace the flour with Bob’s Red Mill Baking Flour (gluten free, blue label). It won’t rise like regular puff pastry, but you will have a tasty pastry.