Monday, June 16, 2008
Puff, the magic pastry.
First, lets start off with some apologies.
Its been a month since my last entry, even though two more posts were waiting to be published. I apologize.
I haven't even been cooking as much as usual at home, making it even less likely for me to be trying recipes.Hopefully this will change.
That title sucks. I apologize.
In the last entry, I wrote about the Gâteau Saint-Honoré, a creme topped pastry round. Not wanting to anger the gods of the kitchen, i turned to a recipe by Carole Walter, the author of the splendid "Great Cookies" The pastry is light, fluffy, and easy to make, as it is mixed entirely in the food processor. If you dont have a food processor, treat this dough exactly like a pie dough. I won't tell you how to do this, mainly because i don't like pie and dont want to spend that much time on the subject. It gets complicated when it comes to rolling out the dough, something which Walters just describes, but doesn't provide pictures for. So, I've annotated the recipe, instructions, and added pictures.
Puff pastry is incredibly versatile, yummy, flaky, and ooh so good. You can wrap brie in it, make cheese twists, cinnamon sticks, turnovers, pies, tarts,,, and to risk sounding like Bubba talking about shrimp, I'll stop.
1 1/3 c. flour (or if you have cake flour, 1 c. all purpose and 1/3 c. cake flour... this will lead to a tenderer dough)
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks) cut into 1/2 squares, with four T separated away from the rest.
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 c. ice water
1. Pulse the flour(s) and the salt in a food processor 4-5 times. Remove 2 T of the flour mixture and place it into a ziploc bag with 8 T of the butter. Seal, shake until the butter cubes are covered, and refrigerate it. Leave the remaining 4 T out to soften and get to room temperature.
2. After everything gets all chilly, add the 4 T of butter to the workbowl of the processor. Pulse 4-5 times and then for 6-8 seconds. The mixture should look like a thicker cornmeal. Add the contents of your chilly bag and pulse 4-5 times. Mix the lemon juice and the ice water (which has been strained of all ice...) and add to the proccessor bowl. Pulse 3- 4 times. It should be really rough now and you should be able to see the butter in it. Do not over mix it by letting it form a bowl - you should still have crumbs!
3. Empty out the mixture onto where you are going to roll it. Make sure it is evenly floured, as you have a sticky dough. I used a pastry cloth this time to keep it from sticking to the countertops (where i normally deal with dough) A pastry cloth is basically a piece of canvas (or soft grain material).. after use and light flouring, it is a nonstick rolling surface that is sticky dough friendly, are pretty inexpensive and a great way to keep your dough from getting over floured (the material holds in the flour, keeping mounds of it from sticking to the dough).
4. Press the crumbs into a rectangle about 4X5 " I eyeballed this as the size of my hands in "L" shape with the thumbs touching. Roll the dough out to be a rectangle, about 8 X 16.
Even out the edges a bit, to make it a little more rectangularish...
5. Bring the bottom of the dough up to the halfway mark and the top of the dough down to meet it. It should look something like this:
(Note: ive made a mark there to make the 1/2 way point more visable... this weakens the dough and makes it more difficult to roll)
6. Now, fold the left side over the right, just like closing a book.
7. Make a quarter turn and repeat steps 4 -6 . Wrap in wax paper (or plastic wrap, whatever you have lying around, and refrigerate for 1o-15 minutes, or until cold.
8. Repeat steps 4 -6 again, rewrap, and refrigerate again until cool.
9. Repeat step 8 , rolling for a 4th time and folding it once more like a book. at this point, stick the dough back in the fridge: you want it to be cool when you work with it. It should last in your fridge for 3 days (untested...) but you can allegedly freeze it for 4 months. pretty sweet, eh?
Now that we have dough, you can make some yummy cinnamon sticks or cheese straws !
For cinnamon sticks, just sprinkle the dough (which has been rolled out to a nice 8 X14 rectangle, at least) heavily with cinnamon and sugar. Cut into strips, about a centimeter wide, and twist. Stick it in an oven at around 375 degrees F and bake on an ungreased pan for about 20 minutes, or until they are nice, brown and fluffy.
For cheese sticks, take a hard cheese, like Parmesan or Asiago, and grate it liberally over the rectangle. Add some freshly ground pepper, and sprinkle on some cayenne pepper for a little spice. Use the same method as the cinnasticks and munch away.