Hot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot Images
Hot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot Images

January 21, 2013

Complicated Pastry Day - Part Two

I just loved my Complicated Pastry Days so much I just can't stop talking about them. So now... the puff pastry portion - part 2. Would you just look at this lovely apple pastry?

This is how we do an apple danish around here!

I got a bee right in my bonnet a while ago about some kind of cheese danish. But you just know I wasn't going to go and buy some of that frozen puff pastry from the store. Instead I reached for my new favorite thing... my autographed copy of The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle and looked up Tom Douglas' "worth the effort puff pastry." There were four pages of instructions. I almost drove to the store to get the stupid frozen puff pastry right then. But undeterred I soldiered on...

At the end of the first day I determined that the exact detail was extremely helpful and every word mattered. The big difference between the croissant dough and this puff pastry - aside from the yeast - was the exactness of the instructions. Even the technique was mostly the same - use a butter heavy dough, roll it out, fold it, then chill it between roll 'n that several times.

My trusty Never Wrong measuring tape was the key to my success.

The Dahlia Cookbook goes into exact details about how to roll the dough out - with measurements given.  For instance you roll the dough to a size of 8" x 20",  for instance, for most of the turns. Also the biggest 'helpful hint' was to brush the extra flour off the dough before folding.  You then use a little spritz of water before folding. This seemed to bind the layers together better. This puff pastry dough did not use the butter square that is the basis for most croissant doughs. Even tho it looked the same as the croissant dough after the first couple turns - this version seemed to disperse the butter much more evenly. I believe this was because of how thin it was rolled out.

You have to be exact...and then brush off the extra flour before folding.

I found a link with the instructions on how to make the puff pastry but I'm pretty sure you'll fall over when you see it - and yep, those are all the steps. Don't forget to read the the notes before getting started! It looks like a lot of work over the course of two days but wow the results were amazing! And how fun is it to learn something new? It was an absolute thrill to see the uniform layers of the dough when it was done.

Look at those layers!

This is a great project if you are going to be inside anyway - say on a canning day or an all laundry day. It doesn't take a lot of work, just a lot of steps and a certain amount of precision. It was kind of fun using a measuring tape for cooking.... as with most things I name my tools so my old friend, "Never Wrong" was with me the whole time.  My measurements were spot on and it paid off.

Applesauce plopped on a puff pastry - amazing!

The puff pastry project totally gets an A+. It was a fun thing to do and the results were fantastic. It's easy enough to keep the cut pastry in the freezer, top with fruit or jam, and put them in the oven until they are puffed and golden. I made this apple danish with just some chunky style homemade apple sauce and a quick caramel sauce. I also made a couple with just blackberry jam and nothing else. In the next couple of days I'll try a cheese danish ...and I'll make savory one as well.

The caramel sauce was just gilding the lily...

As a follow up to the croissant post I asked my pal K. over at Living the life in Saint-Aignan, if he had any experience with baking croissants? No, they had never made them but he gave me this incredible link to a french video of "how to." Subtitled in English, this video taught me more in a few minutes then I could ever learn randomly clicking around on the interweb.

So armed with the expertise of the video and everything I learned about being exacting (and brushing off the extra flour) from the Dahlia Bakery cookbook - I'm pretty sure my next croissant day will be a raging success. With our extra cold weather coming in and my almost empty plate of croissants... I could have another complicated pastry day before you know it.

Happy Monday everyone! Now don't you want to run right out and make some complicated pastries? You'll never have to go to France again!

(Just kidding.... I miss Paris sometimes....)