Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Weekend Baking - Puff Pastry from Scratch

The day after Christmas I really wanted to just relax at home and bake. We spent the morning working out and then after a quick shower I was ready to start baking something yummy. I decided to try my hand at Puff Pastry from scratch!

I browsed all around the internet and found one that I liked. A recipe from Emeril that seemed pretty reasonable but also authentic. I didn't want any shortcuts but I also didn't want anything crazy that would require me to go to the grocery store.

5 hours! Did you know that it takes over 5 hours to make a puff pastry from scratch! And that's just the "resting" time. Yep, it took the whole day. Fortunately its mostly resting and as long as you can stand to have a dirty counter for a few hours, there's really not much to making the actual dough. I've copied the recipe below from the food network, but before I get to that, I'll show you some pictures.

First, the base. It's not hard to make the base and I pretty much just followed the recipe below. I did have a large bowl, so it made mixing the dough base much nicer than if I would have tried on the counter. I used ice water (but not the ice, of course). And I also used a hand. Using a fork just seemed like it would be so much more work.

After being in the fridge for an hour, came the part that even disgusted me a little. The butter block.

OMG. A 5" x 5" block of BUTTER. Yep, just butter. I pulled some butter out of the fridge and just pounded it down with the rolling pin and the palms of my hands. You don't want to over work it and you want to make sure it is about the same temperature as the dough you are pulling out of the fridge. After you've got your 5" x 5" block, you wrap the dough around it and roll it out. Smooshing all the delicious butter into the dough, and folding over and over again.

Before I get into the pictures, I should put a disclaimer. Yes, I own an awesome camera, and yes, my husband just bought me an equally awesome flash, but it's just so much easier to post pictures from the iphone. Sorry, it's true. I'll work on that more in the future.

Butter Block in the dough

Dough wrapped around the butter block

Rolled and folded the first time.

After the first rolling and folding (or second, cause you have to do it more than once) I put it in the fridge and waited one hour. Then I repeated the process. Here is the second (or 4th or 8th) rolling. After a while I couldn't keep track.

You can see it looks much better

So you repeat this process of resting and rolling and folding about 6 times and after 5 hours of resting, you finally have puff pastry dough, from scratch, that is ready to use!

I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with the dough once I had it, so I started experimenting. I made some pastries with apples and then I had this great idea to make a raspberry compote. I took some raspberries and sugar and brandy and cooked them together. Mmmmm it was so tasty. See

Here are some pictures of the final products. These I really should have posted with the good camera, but again, I'm feeling lazy tonight and the good camera with the good pictures is just so far away. So deal.

The first ones out. The chocolate is a chocolate pastry filling that I made but I wasn't super impressed with, so I'll spare you the details.

Just out of the oven. Glazed with a powdered sugar/milk/vanilla mixture.

Ta Da! The final product all presented on a festive holiday tray. And they were delicious! Though I sit here and wonder how much better they were (or weren't) than if I had just used frozen puff pastry out of the freezer section of HEB. I mean, they were good, but man, 6 hours for home made puff pastry. That's just a lot of time.

So much time in fact, that I decided to make some macaroons while I was waiting for the dough. Here are the macaroons. All vanilla bean cookies filled with chocolate raspberry, salted caramel, and lemon curd. The salted caramel ones turned out AMAZING.

And here is the recipe that I promised for the puff pastries. Actually, I was going to copy it below, but since it's so long, I figure I'll just link it to you. HERE. I didn't make the apple tart tatin that is in the first half of the recipe, so I'm not sure how good it would have turned out, but I bet it would be pretty tasty!

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