Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Puff Pasty Shennanigans Pt 2: Raspberries

My trials and tribulations with puff pastry have not stopped me from taking it on again. This time, however, I was successful. I made delicious mini raspberry tartelette things. K.mu said they were delicious versions of hand pies.

Frozen puff pastry (1 piece)
1/2 c. Raspberry jam or jelly
1 c. frozen raspberries, defrosted
2 TB maple syrup (sub. equal parts water and sugar if you don't have real maple syrup)
Raw sugar
1 TB of milk or 1 egg, beaten

Parchment paper
Cookie sheet
Pastry brush

Heat the oven to 400 deg.

To defrost the puff pastry, take it out of the freezer, unwrap from its packaging and put it on a cutting board covered with a tea towel. It should defrost in about 15-20 minutes.

Cut the puff pastry into 6 rectangles. You can use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Stab each piece several times with a fork. Put the pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Leave about 1 inch of space around each piece.

You can defrost your raspberries either by leaving them on the counter for a half hour, or by microwaving them for 30 seconds and stirring them. If they're still mostly frozen, microwave for another 30 seconds.

Microwave the raspberry jam in a small bowl for 30 seconds, or until it becomes warm and liquidy. (Be careful not to get this hot or let it boil. Hot sugary products can become culinary napalm. )

Spoon about 1 TB of jam onto each rectangle, and spread it out with the pastry brush leaving a 1/2 inch border around the outside edge of each rectangle.

Put two spoonfuls of raspberries on each rectangle, and spread them out to cover the jammy surface. Add any leftover raspberries where it seems appropriate.

Brush the bare edges of the pastry rectangles with either the milk or beaten egg. Then sprinkle the entire rectangle with raw sugar (sprinkling some extra along the borders).

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until puffed up and golden. Let cool somewhat before eating. These make a delicious dessert and a spectacular breakfast.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Puff Pasty Shennanigans Pt 1: I hate Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is one of my cooking TV boyfriends (Mimi only started loving him when he chubbed up, but he's always been in my harem), and I can't help finding his accent and ridiculous hair charming. On a recent episode of "Jamie's Kitchen" he had this "dead simple, quick easy" recipe to make little flaky crispy pastry things (part of the Quick Rhubarb Fool recipe). Basically you defrost a packet of puff pastry, and then cover a cutting board w/ powered sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the top of the pastry w/ more powered sugar. Roll the pastry out until it is thin and then cut it into big pieces. Cook in a hot dry non stick pan until brown on each side. Quick, crisp and delicious. I had visions of eating these flaky, buttery, cinnamony treats along with homemade ice cream. Mmm...

The reality was very different. The first batch burned on the outside and were raw on the inside. Which led to me cursing mightily, sprinkling more powdered sugar everywhere, and re-rolling the dough (not rick rolling it) so the puff pastry was quite thin. I also had find a cooling rack so the finished little crispy things wouldn't get soggy.

I eventually managed to get the puff pastry to cook through, and crisp up somewhat. Of course that happened about 30 minutes into the "quick and easy" "done in five minutes" enterprise. Worst of all, the little cookies didn't even taste good. The cinnamon got burned and bitter, and the sugar got gummy (quite possibly because US powdered sugar has cornstarch, while UK icing sugar does not).

I ended up covered in sugar, grumpy, hot, sticky and filled with scorn for Jamie Oliver. Clearly Alton Brown is the blond cook I should trust.