Our mummy blogger Anneliese says: ‘Homemade puff pastry can often be overlooked due to the amount of time the pastry spends in the fridge. Most children will not have the patience to wait around for hours on end! However, this problem can easily be solved with these quick and easy pastry pretzels. There is only one trip to the fridge and minimal rolling out is required. Your child will love adding the lumps of butter to the dough and using a rolling pin. There is then the added fun of shaping the pastry into cute pretzel shapes! I am afraid that these pastry pretzels are dangerously addictive; one is just not enough!’
- 60g plain flour
- 70g unsalted butter, chilled
- Pinch of salt
- 30ml icy cold water
- 1tbsp butter, melted
- 25g Parmesan cheese
- 1-2tsp paprika (optional)
First of all ask your child to help weigh the flour into a large mixing bowl.
Pass your little helper a table knife and ask them to slice the butter into small chunks. The butter needs to stay as cold as possible, so if they struggle you may need to assist them.
Quickly add the diced butter into the mixing bowl to join the flour. Add the pinch of salt.
Now it’s time to dig out a fork and use it to cut the butter into the flour. This will be a fun job for your child to do but it takes a bit of elbow grease! Be sure they stop once the mixture looks crumbly and the average size of the butter is that of a pea.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the icy cold water. Get your little one to carefully and gradually mix it into the butter and flour mixture with the help of a wooden spoon.
Once the mixture has come together, it needs to be tipped out onto the worktop. Ask your child to knead the dough gently into a ball. Once the ball of dough has been formed, stop! Too much prodding could spoil the pastry.
Now you can move on and shape the dough into a rough square. There should still be chunks of butter visible in the dough. Ask your little helper to flour the worktop and a rolling pin and roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 10 inches in length.
Brush off any excess flour from the surface of the dough. Fold the dough in three so the top and bottom halves overlap. Keep brushing any excess flour away with a pastry brush; otherwise you will end up with a floury dough. Your child will LOVE to be in charge of brushing duty!
Turn the dough by a quarter of a turn and repeat the previous two steps of rolling and folding. Repeat this twice more, so by the end you will have rolled and folded the dough, four times in total.
Once these steps have been completed, tap the edges of the dough to make an even square shape.
Put the dough onto a plate, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour before using. Now your child can sit with their nose pressed to the fridge eagerly waiting for their pastry!
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Proudly extract the chilled dough from the fridge. Add a little flour to the worktop and roll out the dough until it stretches to approximately a 12 inch square.
Ask your child to brush the small amount of melted butter over the pastry before turning their attention to the grated parmesan. My little boy pretended the cheese was snow as he sprinkled it over the pastry! Dust over the paprika if you wish to use it.
Your child can now gently press the cheese into the pastry with the help of the rolling pin.
Now it’s time to slice the pastry into strips. If your child is very young you will have to do this part. However, if your child is older and used to using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, then they could carry out the task under your supervision. Simply slice the pastry into approximate ¾ inch slices.
Shape each strip into a pretzel shape; don’t worry if they are not perfect! If your child finds this too fiddly then they can twist strips of pastry instead. Gingerly place each pretzel onto a lined baking tray and sprinkle over a little more cheese if liked.
Bake the pretzels in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and puffy. Place the baked pretzels on a wire rack to cool, if you can wait that long!
Add a dash of paprika for a spicy kick or swap the cheese for Cheddar instead for a more intense flavour