Our Tuesday's with Dorie group decided that October would be puff pastry month. Theoretically, the weather has gotten cooler (in many parts of the world, but not here, phooey!) so making puff pastry would not be as difficult. Making puff pastry is a time consuming project but I find it rather nice. It's kind of like a meditation.... Roll roll roll, fold into thirds, turn, do it again... According to the book, when you are done with the 6 turns you make with puff pastry, there are 994 layers of dough and 993 layers of butter! I'll have to take their word for it. I will not be testing that theory!
|Pounded butter on dough|
I have made puff pastry before and found this dough to be quite easy to work. It was simple to make and rolled out very smoothly. I did learn that while puff pastry recipes call for very cold butter, you should NOT use frozen butter. I had only 2 sticks of butter in the refrigerator when I started this recipe, and you need a pound, so I pulled 2 out of the freezer. Well, frozen butter doesn't pound as well as cold butter does. It just doesn't give! In case you are wondering, when you first start working with the butter, you literally pound it with your rolling pin to get it softened a bit and into the right size to start. It's quite nice, the pounding. It just feels good, trust me!
|A nice present.. Dough wrapped butter!|
Here is a hint for making puff pastry: You need a cool room and a cool rolling surface. I can't change the weather here that brought humidity into my house, but I could help out the rolling surface. I do not have a marble board for rolling pastry (though obviously I NEED one!) so I improvise. I set a metal baking sheet that just has a tiny rim on the ends upside down on top of a reusable ice mat. The baking sheet becomes my rolling surface and it stays nice and cold with the ice mat underneath! Here is mine:
The Container Store but you can probably buy them on Amazon or other places.
These pastries are supposed to look like sunny-side-up eggs. There are supposed to be apricots on top, but since I could not find any, I used peaches instead. Each pastry contains 1/2 of a peach, cut into two quarters for the "eggs". While they aren't exactly what the recipe requested, they turned out pretty tasty just the same!
Me being me, I didn't sit down to actually WATCH the Baking with Julia episode that contains the puff pastry and Sunny-side-up Pastries until my own pastries were in the oven. Yes, it is a bit late by then to change anything, but that is just how it goes sometimes!
My thoughts on this recipe:
- The book says to roll out the puff pastry to 1/8 to 1/4 inch and then cut into 4-inch circles. The video says to roll out the puff pastry to 1/2 inch and then cut into 4-inch circles. I think 1/2 inch would have been better. By the time I had rolled my 4-inch circle into an 8-inch long oval, it was pretty darned thin in the middle. Had I started out with a thicker circle, I'd have a thicker oval. And who would complain about a little more puff pastry??
- I prefer a different pastry cream recipe I think. I didn't find this one to be as delicious as I thought it should be. I wanted to want to lick the bowl, you know? This was good, but it was not lick-the-bowl good. It could be because I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean (out of sheer laziness and time conservation). Maybe the vanilla bean would have made the difference? But you could use any pastry cream recipe here.
- Speaking of pastry cream, I dalloped mine onto my pastry and then spread it around a bit to have a place for the peaches. Wrong! The better plan is to dallop it on and leave it in a mound. Set the peaches/apricots up against the mound of cream. They help hold the cream in the pastry so it doesn't leak out. Mine did leak a bit. Lesson learned!
Making these pastries gave me some nice scraps of puff pastry that will be used in the next Tuesdays with Dorie challenge. However I also have another 1 1/4 pounds of puff pastry (this recipe used 1/2 of a puff pastry recipe, if that makes sense) so what should I create with that??? Any suggestions?
The recipe for the puff pastry can be found on pages 46-49 of Baking with Julia, or you can find it here. The recipe for the sunny-side-up apricot pastries can be found on pages 192-194 of Baking with Julia, or you can find it here. Remember, you don't have to make your own puff pastry to make this recipe! You could grab a box at the grocery store and have an awesome pastry in no time!
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