Sift the plain flour (150g) into a large bowl, Add the salt (½ tsp). Grate the Comté cheese (100g) and frozen butter (100g) and add them to the bowl.
If you're using one of the optional extras then finely chop these and also add them to the bowl.
Using a dinner knife, cut through the ingredients. You want to get the butter and cheese coated in the flour.
Once the butter and cheese are coated add the cold water (80ml) 1 tbsp at a time. After each addition cut through the mix, you'll start to see it coming together in lumps. As each addition of water is absorbed into the pastry add more, and when it starts coming together switch from using a knife to using your hands to bring the pastry together and collect up any stray flour in the bottom of the bowl. You want to add just enough water that there's no stray flour but no more, otherwise you'll have a wet sticky dough.
Once you've brought your pastry together, wrap it in cling film and then pop it into the fridge for half an hour.
While the pastry is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out so that it's about ½cm thick and about 13cm high. Use a knife to cut the pastry into straws about 2cm wide. Place these onto a baking tray (I line mine with a non-stick baking mat to stop them sticking, if you don't have one then grease the tray with a little butter instead).
Cook for around 13 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove the straws from the oven and leave them to cool on the tray for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Use frozen butter as that way it'll stay in lumps as you make the pastry. It's these lumps that make the pastry flake as it cooks.
Using a knife to cut through the mixture rather than a spoon to mix means that the butter is again more likely to stay in the lumps needed for flaky pastry.
Handle the pastry as little as possible as this will ensure the butter stays cold and avoids it being overworked. If you handle the pastry too much it will end up being less tender when it's cooked.
Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.3g | Protein: 1.7g | Fat: 4.8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 80mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.1g
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.