Category: puff pastry

Some stout pie shenanigans.

The Irish (and English, for that matter) love their pies. And I don’t mean fruit pies, I mean meat pies. Hot, cold, warm or room temperature, they love them some meat pies. It’s a famous pub dish; a flaky pie crust or puff pastry topping over a beef-stew like filling. You can make them in individual pie plates or as one big pie. Similar concept to Shepherd’s pie, except this pie actually has a crust on top, whereas the former has mashed potatoes.

meat pie is a pie with a filling of meat and/or other savoury ingredients. Principally popular in EuropeAustraliaNew ZealandCanada, and South Africa, meat pies differ from a pasty in the sense that a pasty is typically a more portable, on-the-go item, as opposed to a more conventional pie.

-Wikipedia

A few weeks ago, I went to a pub that Jay’s friend opened in Brooklyn, and somewhere around the third or fourth Guinness we decided to have a beef & stout pie. It was just a simple little pub with no kitchen, so the pie was an instant microwaveable one. But it gave me an idea: make your own, Marilla!  And at some point, in between then and now, I picked up this book, which conveniently had a recipe listed on the cover for beef & stout pies. SCORE.


How perfect is that?

Anyway, I decided I’d give ‘em a try this week, and they turned out pretty amazing.

And quite easy, actually. In the opinion of the Irish (according to the book), the only stout suitable for cooking with beef is Guinness. If you have another stout you want to use, then so be it. I stick with Guinness for this kinda stuff though- it’s sweet, but not too sweet. Perfect for a stew.

IRISH BEEF & STOUT PIES

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. boneless chuck steak or eye of round steak, cut into 1″-inch pieces
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups meat stock
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 or 5 large carrots, peeled & sliced into “coins”
  • 4 or 5 medium/large potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 pound store-bought puff pastry or store-bought pie crust
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, then toss the (patted dry) beef in the mix until evenly coated.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef, in batches, and transfer to a flameproof casserole dish or dutch oven. Deglaze the skillet with 1/4 cup of the stock, and add the liquid to the casserole dish.
  3. Heat another 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet and cook the onion and carrots for 6-7 minutes or until onions are soft.  Add to the casserole dish with the tomato paste, thyme, stout, potatoes and remaining stock. Heat the casserole dish or oven over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer gently with the lid slightly askew for around 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Check the seasoning, and add salt or pepper as needed. Drain the meat mixture in a strainer set over a large bowl. Reserve the liquid, letting rest until cool. Preheat the oven to 425° F and put a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
  5. Divide the meat mixture among four individual pie plates or 5 -5 1/2″ ramekins. Pour in enough liquid to not quite cover the filling. Dampen the rims of the plates or ramekins with water.
  6. Cut your pastry into four pieces, each one large enough to cover the tops of the pies including a 1″ hangover.  Make holes in it or two or three slashes to allow air our and place them on top of the filling, pressing the edges down. I used a fork to push the dough onto the rim. Brush with egg yolk.
  7. Places the pies on a the preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400° F and bake for 5 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving so no one burns a tongue!

It isn’t the most attractive looking meal, but trust me. It’s way better than it looks! Potatoes, beer, beef, carrots… how can that be bad!?

If you wish, you can lessen the amount of carrots & potatoes, but add in some cremini mushrooms (just the caps, quartered- no stems). I’m not a big mushroom lover. I left them out. If you do choose to add mushrooms, add them with the onions and carrots in step 3. Also, I used frozen pie crust for the tops. Puff pastry will be puffier, obviously. You can also use homemade, if you’ve got a great recipe you like. For the sake of time I went with frozen. Sue me. 

I also made four ramekins, each one measures about 5″ across and 3 1/2″ high. I actually bought them at Pier 1 Imports, so here they are, the larger size. Vintage embroidered Irish linen napkins not included.

And that, my friends, is that. Serve with a hearty bread, or a bit of Irish soda bread, and a pint of Guinness! Or Harp. Or whatever. It doesn’t really matter what you pair it with, just so long as you enjoy yourself.

I hope you all have a happy & delicious St. Patrick’s Day!

The ‘I-don’t-like-pears’ honeyed pear tarts.

Nor’easter Athena, or Winter Storm Athena, hit New York, New Jersey & Connecticut this past week. She was supposed to be rain/slushy mix with high winds for the city & surrounding areas with light snow further inland leading to deeper snow at the far interior; she ended up being around 6 inches of snow for the city. Seriously. First a hurricane… or should I say, “superstorm;” the likes of which we’ve never seen before. And then a goddamn snowstorm. I don’t know. I give up.

Now you tell me there’s nothing crazy going on with climate change.

Ugh. I hate snow. This photo was taken at around 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, before an additional 4+ inches was loaded on. The worst part, though, is that there are families- incuding people I know- living without power & heat. Some of them even in damaged or compromised homes or apartments, tarps on the roof or broken doors & windows. And it snowed. On top of everything else! Did I mention I hate snow?

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Speaking of things I hate, pears & I don’t mix. I might have told you before… I just don’t like pears. I’ve tried. I really tried to like them. They’re so cute!

And they look so similar to apples, and have such a similar skin & flesh texture, that I try really hard to enjoy them. But ultimately I don’t, and I just have to accept that. I’ll never be a fan of ginger pear white tea, I’ll never like pear tarts and I’ll never, ever like eating one straight. However, I’m a sucker for fresh produce… pears and apples look so pretty together!

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But you have to know your audience. So when you’re making a dinner for people who do like pears, and you had some pears sitting around that you had bought for a great price, despite not liking them… then you come up with a dessert featuring those pears. Preferably a quick & simple dessert that doesn’t require a lot of work. Something rustic-looking, something rough around the edges, and something that I can throw together in five minutes.

So this is what I came up with. Sugared & honeyed pear tarts.

I thought of those quick & easy stone fruit galettes I made over the summer, and decided if it worked for peaches & plums, it’d work for pears too. And of course, despite it being extremely easy, and lacking an in-depth explanation… I thought I’d share it with you.

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It’s simple, really. Practically makes itself. The longest part is peeling the pears.

Get some frozen puff pastry* and take it out to thaw. Get your pears, wash ‘em and peel ‘em. Then cut them in half, and cut out the bottom core and scrape out the inside seed/core part of each. A melon baller can make this easy, but a small teaspoon works too. Remember- each pear makes 2 tarts. It’s cool to leave the stems on like I did, but you can also remove them if you want. Set the pears aside. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with a sheet of parchment paper. Then take your thawed puff pastry and cut it into rectangles, sizing them so that the pear halves fit just right. Brush each piece with a little honey, then place your pears on top. Brush the pears with honey, and bake at 375° degrees F until the pastry is “puffed” around the pears and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

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Remove the tarts from the oven, then let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove from the sheet and plate them. Drizzle with honey, sift some powdered sugar on top, and serve with whipped cream or ice cream while still warm.

Bam. Easy fall dessert.

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Alternately, you can hollow the insides of the pears out even more and put some goat cheese or mascarpone cheese in the middle before placing them on the pastry, to make a kind of filling. Maybe add some sliced almonds, too. You can also drizzle it with melted chocolate or homemade caramel instead of honey. I like the sugar sprinkled over the top… it’s like snow.

You can use pretty much any fruit, and this is a dessert that can be made any time of year. Like I said, I did it before with sliced plums & peaches; you can also use apples. Of course it’s pear season now, but I think you still might be able to get some plums, and some apples, so use what you like. You can also cut the pastry into a pear shape, and decorate it with a puff pastry leaf at the top, to make it fancier. Or slice the pear from the bottom almost all the way to the top, cutting it into six or seven slices leaving the stem part intact, and then fan it out slightly over the puff pastry. And you can basically use any kind of pear you want, because you’re not cutting them up too much, they won’t turn to mush. If you decide to use apples, then you have to use a good baking apple (Gala, Golden Delicious, Rome, etc). But with pears, it shouldn’t matter much, so use whatever ones you like that are in season: Anjou (Red or Green), Bartletts (Red or Green; although I think they’re gone by now), Bosc, Concorde, or Forelle. I can’t really remember what mine were.

I told you, I don’t like pears.

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*You can most definitely use homemade puff pastry as well. I’m just not one for attacking people or coming down on them for not using local fruit & organic unbleached whole wheat pastry flour or for using frozen short-cuts now & then. Life is hard enough, don’t make it more complicated than it is. Pastry should be fun & delicious- not snobby enough to make you feel like you want to cry. Make it however you like! No judgment here.

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Fruit stoned.

I might be a summer baby, born on the 30th of July, but I’m not a lover of 95˚ F degree temperatures with dew points that make it feel like it’s 104˚ F. Basically all I want to do once the mercury goes up is… well… nothing. Seriously. I just want to sit and lounge in a cool, comfortable spot, drink frozen adult beverages and get fanned with palm fronds (preferably with Henry Cavill, Alexander Skårsgard and Brad Pitt doing the fanning) and I’d look something like this…

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You know, impossibly fresh-looking and relaxed, all my makeup in place, with not a drop of sweat to be found. But that isn’t always practical, as you probably well know. That’s a total dream sequence. I still have to work, and do gardening, and cleaning, and eating, and living. And you do too!

And since you’ve still gotta eat, no matter how hot it is, you probably still want dessert too. I know dessert is a must around here. Crazy enough, when you’re known for your baking and you have a blog where you showcase your baked goods, people actually expect dessert all the time! In the summer, especially these hazy/hot/humid “dog days” of summer, the best kind of desserts to make are the easy ones. Ones that don’t take a lot of time, ones that are made from fresh or in-season ingredients, ones that basically make themselves and ones that you can eat with a dollop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream. But more importantly: ones that still look beautiful (despite the ungodly heat) & make everyone think you slaved for hours.

And a galette is one of those.

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And right about now you may be wondering what the hell a galette is exactly. Well, I’m going to satisfy your curiosity…

Galette is a term used in the French cuisine to designate various types of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes,[1] similar in concept to a Chinese bing. One notable type is the galette des Rois (King cake) eaten on the day of Epiphany. In French Canada, the term galette is usually applied to pastries best described as large cookies.

Galette, or more properly Breton galette (French: Galette bretonne, Breton: Krampouezhenn gwinizh du), is also the name given in most French crêperies to savoury buckwheat flour pancakes, while those made from wheat flour, much smaller in size and mostly served with a sweet filling, are branded crêpes. Galette is a type of thin large pancake mostly associated with the regions of Normandy and Brittany, where it replaced at times bread as basic food, but it is eaten countrywide. Buckwheat was introduced as a crop suitable to impoverished soils and buckwheat pancakes were known in other regions where this crop was cultivated, such as Limousin or Auvergne.

It is frequently garnished with egg, meat, fish, cheese, cut vegetables, apple slices, berries, or similar ingredients. One of the most popular varieties is a galette covered with grated Emmental cheese, a slice of ham and an egg, cooked on the galette.[2] In France, this is known as a galette complète (a complete galette). A hot sausage wrapped in a galette (called galette saucisse, a tradition of Rennes, France) and eaten like a hot dog is becoming increasingly popular as well.[3]

There is a children’s song about galette: “J’aime la galette, savez-vous comment ? Quand elle est bien faite, avec du beurre dedans.” (“I like galette, do you know how? When it is made well, with butter inside.”)

-Wikipedia

My galettes aren’t exactly like the traditional galettes, they’re just puff pastry topped with stone-fruits: sliced plums, peaches & nectarines. But they’re pretty, and they’re pretty easy to make. Okay they’re more than pretty. They’re downright gorgeous. Like jewels laid out on pillows… (was that too cheesy? It sounds very cheesy in my head…)


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Okay, scratch that cheesy crap. This is some hardcore punk rock pastry! Better? No? Alright forget it.

Anyway, all I did was unroll one sheet of frozen puff pasty dough, and cut it into 6 pieces. I placed them evenly on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Then I melted some marmalade (I used this one, and heated it just enough so it was more liquidy & easily brushed on) and brushed it onto each piece. I pitted & sliced up some plums, a large peach, and some nectarines and placed them on top of the melted marmalade. I made a different galette for each, but you could make ones that consist of a variety of sliced stone-fruits. I sprinkled them with a little granulated sugar and baked them in a 375° F oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

You’re done!

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Remove them from the oven, let them cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a rack unless they’re going to be eaten right then & there. If you leave them on the sheets, they’ll get soggy. Serve them plain, or like I said above: with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or fresh whipped cream.

So yes, it requires that you actually put the oven on. And you have to melt the marmalade a little. But really, that’s a small price to pay for a dessert that looks like this. I guarantee you, if you serve these, someone will ask you what bakery you bought them from. Apricot jam works well too, if you don’t have marmalade. And any kind of stone-fruit works; plums, nectarines, peaches, pluots, apricots… whatever! A sprinkling of sliced almonds along with the sugar on top before baking would be a great addition. You could also spread some frangipane on the puff pastry instead of marmalade. And in the fall, the peaches & plums can be replaced with pears and apples, too, maybe with a sprinkling of cinnamon as well as sugar.Hell, I don’t see why you couldn’t use sliced strawberries either.

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Of course you can totally make your own puff pastry dough, too. I opted for frozen because this was a last-minute decision based on some peaches & nectarines that were getting too soft and needed to be used (and a kind of over-abundance of plums). It’s good to have some frozen puff pastry in your fridge, along with some crescent rolls and biscuits. They can be used at the drop of a hat to make an excellent breakfast or dessert.

That’s truthfully how I come up with most of my ideas; when I have fruit or something that needs to be used ASAP, and some kind of frozen pastry or crust, etc. I see what I have, what fresh materials are around, and I work around them. I rarely say, “Hey, this week I’m gonna make a stone-fruit galette so I better stock up on peaches & shit.” Nope. If I have strawberries that need to be used, I incorporate them into something. If I buy cherries because they’re on sale, I figure out what I’m going to make after I have them. That’s how it ought to be- you decide what you’re going to eat based on what’s available, what’s fresh, what’s in season. Eh. I’m not going to preach… I had both a big ass burger from Five Guys & a pizza with garlic knots in the past week.

That said, I’m already imagining this done with a thick layer of peanut butter-chocolate ganache and marshmallows on top. The fun ain’t just for fruit! And marshmallows are always in season.

Go nuts for Nutella with the easiest desserts EVER.

Okay, what I’m giving you today is quite possibly the easiest dessert duo EVER. Hands down. You don’t even have to DO ANYTHING. Minimal effort, minimal cost, minimal actions can get you two adorable & delectable little last-minute desserts. What are they? “Nutella Purses” and “Nutella Tarts”, both made using Nutella (duh) and Pillsbury® products. And no, I did not get compensation for these.

Everyone who knows me knows I love Nutella so this really shouldn’t be a surprise. Back in October I made apple-dumplings-or-pockets-or-my-version-of-a-quick-strudel-type thingies using Pillsbury Crescent rolls, and they were a big hit. I was brainstorming ever since about what to do next- savory? More sweet? Chocolate? I finally decided at about midnight (yes, midnight) a few weeks ago I’d use up the remainder of my Nutella and make some little 5-minute desserts using the two packages of giant crescent rolls & Grands! biscuits in my fridge (in case you’re wondering, the ‘Flaky Layers Butter Tastin” kind).

Those are the Nutella Purses. How good do those look? They tasted even better…  not to rub it in or anything. Hah. So here’s how you make ‘em.

NUTELLA PURSES

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of Pillsbury (or store brand) crescent rolls (preferably the large ones, 8 in a package)
  • 1 jar of Nutella
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper & preheat oven to 350 F (or whatever it says on the package). Open crescent dough and combine triangles together to form squarangles (or a kind of square + rectangle hybrid) by patting and squeezing dough together on the seam. Gently roll it or pat it out a bit so it’s flat and evenly one piece (if it makes it easier, space-wise, you can do this assembly on the cookie sheet so it’s already there and ready to bake).
  2. Put a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of Nutella in the middle of the squarangle. Draw the corners of the dough up, folding and pinching it together to make a little pouch, leaving a small opening in the center. Using a pastry brush, brush tops and sides with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Place on cookie sheet using flat metal cookie spatula, if it isn’t already on it. Bake until dough is golden brown and firm enough to not collapse; mine took about 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, but again, bake according to package directions. Remove and allow to cool for at least 5-10 minutes before eating. They’re best warm but are decent when at room temperature, and they can be reheated easily.

Okay so those are super easy, right? I know. Ridiculously easy. Brainless, even. The Nutella Tarts take a bit more effort, but are worth it. I’m actually not even going to write up another recipe, because that first one was just silly. The ingredients are basically the same, except instead of crescent rolls, you’re gonna use biscuits. First what you’re going to do, is open the package and place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, only 4 to a sheet unless your cookie sheets are the larger ones. Using a glass, mold them into “shells” by pressing the glass into the middle of each. I used the Grands biscuits, they come 8 to a package & they’re pretty giant.

Like so.

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Then, brush the outsides with the beaten egg using a pastry brush. Sprinkle sugar on them, and fill each with 2 teaspoons of Nutella. Then pop ‘em in the oven for oh, let’s say 15-17 minutes or until golden brown (or according to package directions). Forreals. That’s ALL. Wanna see how they look done? Do ya? Huh? HUH?

Okay.

Here you go…

With just confectioner’s sugar, top, and whipped cream. Either way it’s DEEEEE-lish!

They were like little filled donuts of delightfulness! Perfect. And really, the only time they took was the time to cook, and they take NO expertise at all, so even the worst baker can pull these off. And talk about cheap! Basically it’s just an awesome dessert idea, great to make at the last minute, and super quick to pull together. And impressive looking! I’ve used Pillsbury biscuits before to make doughnuts, and that was pretty amazing. But these were just to die for. You can use anything you want as a garnish, but if you want to use homemade whipped cream…

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM

Get this:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

And then do:

  1. Whip the cream until almost stiff.
  2. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream holds peaks, but isn’t too stiff. Voila!

The best part of all of these is that the fillings can be totally customized. You can make a chocolate filling, chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate, raspberry, blueberry, even peanut butter & jelly! Seriously anything. And on the flip side, you can make the fillings savory too- shrimp with shredded cabbage & hoisin sauce, chicken with a mushroom & wine sauce, mozzarella cheese/tomato/basil, provolone & spinach, salsa & cheese… whatever! Just make sure you pre-cook all the meats if you decide to go that route, the few minutes in the oven won’t do it… and obviously, skip the sugar-sprinkling if you’re doing the savory thing. But they can be adapted to accommodate just about anything. Make them as savory appetizers, light dinner or a quick dessert. If you’re interested in the apple ones I made in the fall, you can find ‘em here. You can, of course, use the generic store brand biscuits or crescents, by all means. My cooking times are of course for the Pillsbury brand items I listed above. If you buy another brand or another style, they may differ, so be aware.

Before I go, it’s Jay’s sister Jen’s 23rd birthday tomorrow, so… happy birthday Jen! *noisemakers go off & confetti falls from the ceiling* I hope it’s a great one!

Pain au chocolat, oui oui.

Well, Christmas is over. But the “holidays” aren’t, since NYE is just around the corner. All the gifts have been ripped open and kids are counting down to next Christmas, but it’s still winter, a lot of people are still on vacation, and what better to make for breakfast but a delicacy filled with butter and chocolate? That’s right. Croissants.

Croissants are awesome. Flaky, buttery, delicious. When I was about 9, I was in a ballet class and the teacher, Margie, took us all (my class and her two other classes) to practice for a big performance at the dance room in Adelphi University. It was so exciting, except I had to be there at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday. So on the way, I stopped with my mom and got a chocolate croissant and orange juice. I find they do make mornings much more manageable, so the French are definitely on to something. Maybe it’s all that butter? Since then, croissants (especially ones with chocolate) have been a treat that I’ve only indulged in rarely, but when I do indulge I always think, “Hot damn, I need to have these more often, maybe even make them myself!” And I never have. Until now!

These technically aren’t croissants, because they aren’t in the usual crescent shape. They’re actually pain au chocolat; or ‘chocolate bread.’ Here in America, we bastardize everything so we just use sweeping generalizations, hence calling these “chocolate croissants” when they’re really pain au chocolat, also known as…

….a chocolatine (IPA: [ʃɔkɔlatin]) in southwestern France and in French Canada, is a French pastry consisting of a cuboid-shaped piece of yeast-leavened laminated dough, similar to puff pastry, with one or two pieces of chocolate in the centre.

Pain au chocolat is made of the same puff pastry variant as that for a standard croissant. Often sold still hot or at least warm from the oven, they are commonly sold alongside croissants in French bakeries and supermarkets.

A croissant (French pronunciation: [kʁwasɑ̃] ( listen), anglicised variously as /krəˈsɑːnt/, /kwɑːˈsɑːn/, etc.) is a buttery flaky bread or pastry named for its distinctive crescent shape. It is also sometimes called a crescent[1] or crescent roll.[2] Croissants are made of a leavened variant of puff pastry. The yeastdough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, a technique called laminating.

Croissant pastry can also be wrapped around any praline, almond paste or chocolate before it is baked (in the last case, it becomes like pain au chocolat, which has a different, non-crescent, shape), or sliced to admit sweet or savoury fillings. In France and Spain, croissants are generally sold without filling and eaten without added butter, but sometimes with almond filling. In the United States, sweet fillings or toppings are common, and warm croissants may be filled with ham and cheese or feta cheese and spinach. In the Levant, croissants are sold plain or filled with chocolate, cheese, almonds, or zaatar. In Germany, croissants are sometimes filled with Nutella or persipan; in Southern Germany there also is a popular variety of a croissant glazed with lye (“Laugencroissant”). In Switzerland the croissant is typically called a Gipfeli which typically has a crisper crust and is less buttery than the French style croissant. In some Latin American countries, croissants are commonly served alongside coffee as a breakfast or merienda. These croissant are referred to as medialunas (“half moons”) and are typically coated with a sweet glaze (“de manteca”, made with butter). Another variant is a medialuna “de grasa” (“of lard”), which is not sweet.

QUICK PASTRY DOUGH

First you get:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold butter (1 pound)
  • 1 ¼ cups ice water

Then you:

  1. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut the cold butter into ½-inch-thick slices (not cubes). Add the butter slices to the flour mixture; toss till butter slices are coated with the flour mixture and are separated. Pour ice water over the flour mixture.
  2. Using a spoon, quickly mix (butter will remain in large pieces and flour will not be completely moistened). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough 10 times by pressing and pushing dough together to form a rough-looking ball. Shape dough into a rectangle (dough still will have some dry-looking areas). Make the corners as square as possible. Slightly flatten dough.
  3. Working on a well-floured surface, roll the dough into an 18″ x 15″ -inch rectangle. Fold crosswise into thirds to form a 15″ x 6″ -inch rectangle. Give dough a quarter turn, then fold crosswise into thirds to form a 5″ x 6″ -inch rectangle and to create 9 layers.
  4. Repeat the rolling, folding, turning, and folding process once more, forming a 5×4-inch rectangle. Wrap dough with plastic wrap. Chill for 20 minutes.
  5. Repeat the rolling and folding process 2 more times. Before using, chill dough for 20 minutes more. Roll out into approx. 15″ x 18″ rectangle once again.

CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS

You’ll need:

  • pastry dough (recipe above, or your own)
  • 1 package (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, or, alternately, 1 or 2 chopped bars of chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 egg yolk

Then you’ll have to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Mix together egg yolk and milk in a small bowl.
  2. Take the chilled dough that’s ready to be used and cut it into pieces that measure about 12″ by 3″, roughly.
  3. Spread semi-sweet chocolate chips along the center of one of the rectangles, leaving spaces on all 4 sides. Roll it up the long way, so that you get a sort of cinnamon roll looking thing, filled with chocolate chips. Place seam side down on to a greased baking sheet and repeat until all the dough is used.
  4. Brush the tops with the egg yolk mixture and bake until golden brown, around 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Mine took way longer than 20 minutes, but I made mine a bit larger and a bit thicker than normal, on top of the fact my oven runs at a weird temperature. They came out lovely, though, didn’t they?

Of course, you can use any pastry dough you like; one with yeast, one without, one that has to be chilled overnight, etc. I just chose a shortcut version because I like instant gratification. You could even use Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls if you want. I prefer to use homemade, if I can, so I opted to pull together an easy pastry dough myself. And man- was it flaky & buttery! Perfect. I drizzled melted chocolate (½ – ¾ cup chocolate chips mixed with 2 tablespoons shortening, melted in a double boiler or in the microwave at 2 minute increments until smooth, put it in a disposable candy bag or Ziploc & snip off the bottom to make the drizzle) over the tops as well, but that’s up to you. They can be reheated in a low-temperature oven, but just keep an eye on them. You don’t want them to burn! And if you do coat them in chocolate drizzle, reheating them may be tricky.

To make them croissants, just roll the dough thinner and cut into triangles, then roll them up from the long side and then tucking it up into the short end. A better explanation can be found in this YouTube video. You can also make them triangular and also fill them with chocolate. Another alternative is Nutella; just spread it on the dough instead of sprinkling the chocolate chips.

Fantastic on a cold winter morning, or anytime. Equally yummy for any meal, or as a portable treat tucked in a lunchbox. A delicious New Year’s morning breakfast item, also good on any other holiday, or everyday. Speaking of holidays, I hope everyone’s Christmas was beyond fantastic, and filled with love, liquor and baked goods, just the way it oughta be. Mine certainly was, and I received some amazing gifts such as…

Tiffany & Co. cupcake necklace!

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookbooks, The Cake Bible & Rose’s Heavenly Cakes!


I know, I’m a lucky girl. I’ve already got Post-It’s on tons of recipes in both books, & I’m now completely engrossed in the chemistry of baking (i.e. the proteins in egg whites & how they can be broken down, that cornstarch only thickens when it boils at 212° F & what exactly gliadin & glutenin are). And what better reading material for a Sunday/Monday where I was snowed in under 2 feet of snow?

I hope that your New Year’s is safe and happy and healthy. I’ll see you in 2011; with new recipes, of course.