Monday, March 22, 2010

Puff Pastry Two Ways: B

And here's Julia Child's Puff Pastry.

She has you use a bowl?  Scandalous.

And includes butter in the dough?

Doesn't measure the butter by weight?

And includes flour in the butter?

Skipping way ahead, the filling for the turnovers.  (Pictures if the intermediary steps would be almost identical to ones in the preceding two posts.)

The finished turnovers.

Analysis:  Because she included butter in the flour, Julia Child's pastry was quite a bit harder to make.  And I'm not sure that it tasted any better.  Actually, it didn't taste as good. But that might be because of the difference in the turnovers.  Apples are hard and have pointy edges, so it was hard to get them into the turnover, jelly isn't going to poke a hole in your dough, and you won't have to stretch the dough thin to get it around the obnoxiously uneven bit of jelly.  But all that's just explanation for the fact that Fr. Capon's was puff pastry was much much more flaky and buttery.  Julia Child's was almost doughy.  Of course, that may be due to inconsistencies on my part.  But given the higher quality of Fr. Capon's, at least this time, and the fact that it is much easier to make, I think I'll stick with his.  His recipe did, however, make a slightly smaller portion, and I should probably double the recipe, or at least increase it by 3/2 if I'm using it for a Julia Child pastry.

The filling for the second set of turnovers, however, was very good.  So a recipe follows.

4 tart baking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped.
~ 1 tsp cardamom.
Sugar and lemon juice, to taste.  (Quite a bit of sugar.)
Raisins sufficient.

Mix all the ingredients but the lemon juice, and let the apples brown a little (to lose some of their juices so they don't make the pastry damp).  Add the lemon juice.  Place a little on the center of each square of puff pastry, bake at 425 for 8 minutes, turn down the heat (to about 350) and continue baking till golden.  Remove from the oven, set on a rack to cool, and dust with sugar.

Danish Pastry

If I'm going to make puff pastry, why not go all out and make Danish Pastry? Danish, called "Vienna Bread" in Denmark, but Danish in Vienna, is basically puff pastry with yeast and eggs, or croissant dough, with eggs. So if I'm playing around with puff pastry, I may as well try Danish too. Since it looks so similar to puff pastry there aren't lots of pictures.

Sugar, water, yeast, salt, eggs, cardamom, and milk.

Flour and liquid.

Wrap the butter up in the dough, like a Christmas present.

Roll out, turn, fold up, repeat.

Let the dough rise over night in the fridge.

Roll out, sprinkle liberally with raisins, cinnamon and sugar.

Roll up and slice.

Ready for baking.

Conclusion: These take quite a bit of work, but the dough is really good.  Not nearly so flaky as puff pastry--it's more like a bread dough--but still very light and airy.  For these, I'm not entirely sure it's worth the effort--ordinary cinnamon rolls don't have much worse of a dough.  But this dough would work well for more elegant pastries.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Puff Pastry Two Ways: A

It's Spring Break, and I finally have a break from my studies. So what better way to spend my break, than making puff pastry. And I have two recipes for the stuff, one from Julia Child, the other from Fr. Capon, so why not make both and compare techniques and results? And if there's time, make Fr. Capon's Danish Pastry too. (I still haven't gotten to that last one.)

The interesting thing about the two recipes is how different they are. Fr. Capon emphasizes that you should not use a bowl--to minimize the amount of kneading, I believe--tells you to use bread flour, has you knead the butter under water, and includes no butter in the pastry layers. Mrs. Child has you use a bowl, includes butter in the pastry, and flour in the butter, does not have you knead the butter under water, and adds some cake flour to the regular flour. Oh, and Fr. Capon has you measure the butter by weight, Mrs. Child, by volume.

The basic idea for puff pastry is fairly straight forward. Make rough dough with as little water and as little kneading as possible, knead butter to make it smooth (but keep it cold as you knead it), fold up the butter into the pastry (like you're wrapping the butter up as a Christmas present), roll out the pastry with the butter in it, fold it neatly (Julia Child says in thirds, like a business letter, Fr. Capon has you fold up the ends to the middle, and the fold in in half), roll it out, repeat six times, chilling after every two. These pictures are from Fr. Capon's recipe. Julia Child's will follow early next week.

Inauspicious beginnings of the turnovers.

It's beginning to look like dough. Kinda.

Dough. 14.2 oz of it.

And 7.1 oz of butter. (Somehow it lost 0.1 oz while I was taking pictures.)

7.1 oz of butter, ready to be kneaded.

7.1 oz of butter, kneaded into a nice pliable log. (I then made it into more of a square so it would fit in the dough better.)

I forgot to take pictures of the dough just after the butter has been added. But here it is after a couple of turns.

These will be fig and raspberry turnovers.

Ready for baking.

The finished product.

I'll post on Julia Child's method later--I'm done with the dough, but I don't think I'll make turnovers till Monday. Kneading the butter under water worked marvels. It remained cool, but was very very pliable--I wouldn't have guessed there was butter wrapped inside the dough when I rolled it out the first time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate Almond Blood Orange Tart

For Trinity Reformed Psalm Sing.

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, volume I.

My memory card crashed, so no pictures.

Crème Pâtissière filling:

1 cup granulated sugar (I used ultra fine confectioner's sugar)
5 egg yolks
A wire whip
1/2 cup flour
2 cups boiling milk
1 Tb butter
4 oz 100% cocao
A handful of semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp or so sugar
2 Tbsp Frangelico
2 tsp almond extract

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks, and continue beating till the mixture is pale yellow and forms a slowly dissipating ribbon.

Beat in the flour.

Beat the boiling milk into the yolk mixture, gradually, so the eggs don't scramble.

Pour into a saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Stir with a wire whisk, scrapping the bottom of the pan. It may get lumpy when the sauce comes to a boil, just keep beating it, it should smooth out. After it boils, beat of moderately low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour. Be careful the custard does not scorch the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile place the chocolate, sugar, Frangelico, and almond extract in a bowl over simmering water, till soft.

Remove from the heat, and beat in the butter, and then the chocolate mixture.

Can be kept, refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, for several days.


Preheat oven to 375.

1 1/3 cups flour
5 Tbsp granulated sugar (I again used confectioner's sugar)
1/8 tsp double-action baking power
7 Tbsp fat: 5 Tb chilled butter, 2 Tb chilled vegetable shortening
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest from two blood oranges, finely chopped
ten or so mint leaves, finely chopped

Place the flour, sugar, butter, vegetable shortening and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Rub the fat and dry ingredients together rapidly with the tips of your fingers until the fat is broken into bits the size of small oatmeal flakes. Blend in the egg, vanilla, orange zest, and mint; and knead the dough rapidly into a ball. Place on a pastry board and with the heel of your hand, rapidly press the pastry by two-spoonful bits down on a pastry board (or counter or table top) away from you in a firm, quick smear. Form again into a ball, wrap in waxed paper, and chill for several hours till firm.

Roll out dough, and place in a 9 to 10 inch tart pan. Bake at 375 for five to six minutes with pie weights holding down the crust, and for an additional eight to ten minutes without the weights. The shell is done when it has shrunk slightly from the mold and begins to brown very lightly.


Section four blood oranges.

Just before serving, fill the crust with the filling, and arrange the oranges on top in concentric circles.

Chocolate Truffles

For Mardi Gras at NSA, and UI Graduate Colloquium, on Mardi Gras.

More or less, from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking, v. II

No pictures--I had to rush through the recipe.

2 shots Espresso
7 oz semisweet baking chocolate
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
5 oz chilled unsalted butter
1 tbsp Frangelico
2 oranges worth of orange zest
unsweetened cocoa powder

Put the coffee and the chocolate in a (large) glass bowl, and place the bowl over simmering water to melt the chocolate. When the chocolate has softened, beat with an electric mixer till perfectly smooth and creamy. Remove from the heat, and beat for a moment to cool. Cut chilled butter into 1/3 in slices and gradually beat into the chocolate with mixer, adding a new piece as soon as a previous one is almost absorbed. When smooth, beat in the Frangelico and orange zest. Chill for an hour or two till firm.

When the chocolate mixture has chilled and set, remove by teaspoon, roll into rough circular shapes, then roll in the cocoa.

Julia Child says the recipe makes about 18. I quadrupled it and got about 90. Also, it nearly ruined my teaspoon measure. If you make lots, make sure the teaspoon is sturdy.