Comté and sesame twists are an effortlessly French way to celebrate Bastille Day, or any day, really. Puff pastry is lily-gilded with charming French cheese; crisp and cheesy, they’re perfect when eaten out-of-hand and paired with something bubbly. Vive la célébration!
Adapted from Rebekah Peppler | À Table | Chronicle Books, 2021
I was in a tiny butcher shop in Burgundy buying pork chops when I saw them: twisty, buttery, cheesy, crunchy pre-packaged puff pastry sticks that gave me un coup de coeur. Literally translated to “a hit or shock to the heart,” this phrase describes an instant, intense crush for something. (For people, the French often use the equally evocative term “lightning strike,” un coup de foudre, meaning love at first sight.) My crush came home with me right away, and I haven’t been able to find that particular brand since. So, I wrote this recipe and wish you a lifetime of happiness with her.–Rebekah Peppler
WHAT ELSE CAN I PUT IN THESE TWISTS?
That’s up to you, bien sur. In the photo, you’ll see Rebekah Peppler’s alternate version that’s been filled with chopped figs and black olives. Try other cheeses—maybe something a little softer? Some dried fruit. Caramelized onions would be terrifically good. Even a little pinch of that ubiquitous everything bagel spice would be pretty fantastique.
Comté and Sesame Twists
- One package (14 ounce) store-bought or homemade all-butter puff pastry
- 1 1/2 cups grated Comté or Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- Flaky sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Move the puff pastry to a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 20-by-10-inch (50 by 25 cm) rectangle (about 1/8 inch [4 mm] thick).
☞TESTER TIP: If your puff pastry comes in a slightly larger package, increase the amount of cheese and sesame seeds slightly.
- Sprinkle the Comté and sesame seeds on one long half of the dough rectangle, leaving a 1/4-inch [6 mm] border around the edges. Fold the other half over the cheese-and-sesame filling. Cut the dough crosswise into 32 strips (each about 2/3-inch by 5-inches [17 mm by 12 cm]).
- Transfer the strips to the prepared baking sheets. Place one sheet in the refrigerator while working on the second sheet. Working with one strip at a time, brush lightly with the beaten egg. Twist each strip and sprinkle with salt. Transfer the sheet of twists to the refrigerator and repeat with the remaining dough strips.
- Bake until deeply golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Everyone who tried these crispy, flavorful Comté and sesame twists loved them. The combination of flavors is delightful and the crispiness of the puff pastry makes these a great snack. It took me a few attempts to master the “twisting”, but then the process went quickly. If they are not all eaten immediately, they could be used for so many things. They would be a nice accompaniment to tomato soup or a salad. I’d also add them to a charcuterie board.
They come together quickly and have a fairly short baking time so they would be great for entertaining. I did grab a couple before they were put in the freezer, just to see if they would freeze well. The verdict was that they are definitely best right out of the oven when they are nice and crispy. They were fine after freezing and could definitely be made ahead, they are just not quite as crisp.
These Comté and sesame twists are a delicious and easy snack or appetizer. The cheese and sesame seeds are a no-brainer of a combination and help create a deliciously savory and crisp result. We ate these warm and at room temperature and thought that they were delicious each way.
I experimented with several types of sea salt in my pantry—Maldon flakes gave these a classic salty crunch, smoked Icelandic sea salt added a little extra depth of flavor, and blueberry Icelandic sea salt added a subtle bright fruitiness to the end result (plus added some fun purple flakes). We liked them all and would probably do some of each in the future. I recommend breaking the flakes up a tiny bit while sprinkling and going a bit light on the salt since the cheese is already pretty salty.
These are a great snack, but would probably be lovely on a cheeseboard, or as a fun appetizer with friends. I had a better result by working with half the dough at a time during the twisting phase and refrigerating the other half. If the puff pastry gets too warm, it is really tricky to work with. I also refrigerated one sheet of completed twists as an experiment for about 5 minutes before baking and found that tray to yield much more consistent results than the one that I did not refrigerate.
I also found my pizza cutter to be the optimal tool for cutting these strips of dough, but a knife works great too. I will close by saying that my puffs did not look as perfect or uniform as the photo, but we didn’t mind—their messiness added to their homemade appeal.
Frozen puffed pastry makes these Comté and sesame twists easy. Double it if more than four people have been invited or show up, and make them help. Don’t twist too much or the twists will be too thin and burn. They’ll be good anyway, and I speak from experience, but the ones that don’t get overly twisted will be even better. These were perfect with prosecco, leftover dry Riesling, and with Côtes du Rhône, and I imagine they’d pair well with any wine if there were any left. 33 disappeared in no time so storage options aren’t really needed.
Perfect for summer apéro! I love this recipe for Comté and sesame twists! So easy with the frozen puff pastry. I wasn’t able to find any Comté so I used Gruyere. The smell of these cooking was so good. The flavor is amazing and puff pastry is always so good. I was pretty slow with the twisting part and the pastry was getting softer by the minute so I was a little worried, but the end result was perfect.
I think I may add a little more sesame next time since the seeds seemed to disappear. Maybe sprinkle some on top. I really like the twists warm fresh out of the oven but I’m sure they will be good at room temperature too. I’ve already decided to put these on my Bastille Day menu.
Originally published July 14, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can’t go wrong with puff pastry twisted with delicious melted cheese. These Comté and sesame twists are addictive, crave-worthy, and perhaps dangerous to have around! That said, make them.
These are awesome, easy, quick, and impressive. All you need is a classic champagne cocktail alongside (or sparkling water!) and you’ve got yourself a lovely hors d’oeuvre.