14 September 2014

Puff pastry

I was very exited about this class because were were suppose to make chocolate pies. So imagine my disappointment when I found out that the plans were changed and we were going to make puff pastry. 

Puff pastry is a dough that I would stay away from making it myself because it always looks so difficult to make. That plus I can get it very cheap at the supermarket and they work just fine. In America however I will have to really search for it and on top of that they are EXPENSIVE! So on my next American trip I will make puff pastry especially now I know that it's not that difficult to make at all. 

The key of getting the layers in puff pastry is by folding the dough. The butter will have to be in between the layers so the layers can bake individually. There are 3 folding session and about 30 minutes resting/chilling time in between. Every folding session is called a tour and only 3 tours are enough. More tours doesn't make more layers because then the layers will be smoothed out in one clump of dough. To mark a tour we pressed one, two, or three wholes in the dough before chilling.

There are 3 ways of making puff pastry: the Dutch way, the France way and the fast way. The difference between them is the way a tour is being made and how the butter is incorporated in the dough. We were tough the Dutch way.

In class we worked in pairs again and made one big batch of puff pastry. And this time I had my camera so I could take more pictures. 
This is what we end up bringing home each. Not bad for a day of  hard work. We had "kaneelvlinders", "kaasvlinders", "Arnhemse meisjes", "Victoria's", "kaasstengels" and "tompoezen". A lot of Dutch names and for most I don't have an English translation.

Victoria's are puff pastry rounds topped with a mixture of sliced almonds, sugar and egg white (those are the burned ones in the right upper corner). These will have to be baked on high temperature first so the dough can puff up and then on lower temperature so the topping doesn't burn. With 20 people using the same oven baking different kinds of pastry it's hard to get it right. 
These "kaneelvlinders" are made with cinnamon sugar. They are also know as palmiers. All I had to do was cut a square piece of puff pastry, dust the top with lots of cinnamon sugar, fold the ends together and roll it to cinnamon sugar again so it's coated on the inside and outside. Then cut it in pieces and bake it in an 200C oven.

With the same cinnamon sugar we made "Arnhemse meisjes". I have never heard of these before and I don't think there is an English name for it but they were easy to make and very tasty. I use a round cookie cutter, or a class to cut the puff pastry. Then I put it in a tray with cinnamon sugar and made sure all sides were covered. Because these are oval cookies all I had to do was rolling my pin back and forth until they were oval shaped. After they were done baking they looked so tasty. And to make it tastier we filled them with some crème patisserie. Normally they are not stuffed, but I can highly recommend it. 
We also tried to make cones but this didn't work out as well since we did't made them correctly they weren't keeping their shape while baking. This is one of the better looking cones...from this angle...
From this angle it has a big gap on the bottom part.                             
We also made savory puff pastry bites. Twisted cheese sticks with a sprinkle of dried herbs were great to nibble on. 
Then of course "kaasvlinders" or palmiers with cheese.

Looking back at this day I had more fun then I thought. I was so proud to see all the layers in the baked goodies (YEAH, we did it correct!!) and I never felt more satisfied sinking my teeth in one of of them.

The ultimate test came when I tried to make puff pastry at home by myself using the same recipe as in class:
- 250 gr flour
- 130 gr water
- 5 gr salt
- 225 gr cold butter cut in little cubs
Oven temperature: preheated oven 200C to start with, if needed turn it down to 175C

Instructions are quite simple. I poured the flour on my kitchen counter, made a well in the middle and put the rest of the ingredients in the well. Then I mixed everything together. I tried to touch it as less as possible because I didn't want the butter to melt so as soon as it all comes together it's good to go. 

I shaped the dough into a square and start rolling it, while turning the dough to keep it square shaped. When the dough got stuck on my counter I dusted it with some flour. I also dusted the top of the dough to prevent it to stick on my rolling pin. At first there were still lots of lumps of butter, but this will "disappear". 

I used "roomboter" since I didn't had the butter for puff pastry. It works ok, but the butter gets soft real quick so I had to work super fast. Also the dough was quite sticky so I had to dust it with a lot of flour. I also chilled it in the freezer(!) after the first tour because I noticed that it didn't chill enough in the fridge. I will try to get the butter for puff pastry, because that butter doesn't soften as fast, giving me more time to properly work the dough. If I can't find that special butter maybe next time I will try to freeze my roomboter before using it.

Since it's a bit difficult to explain how a tour goes I thought it would help if I did a paper tour and put the pictures up.
step 1 and 2
So I started with a square dough. Then I put the sides together so they could meet in the middle.
step 3 and 4
Then I folded one side on top of the other side, making one log. I turned the dough horizontal and folded sides so they could meet in the middle.
step 2, 3, 4 and 5 
At the end one side was folded on the other side making it a square again.

I wrapped the dough in plastic and put it in the fridge so it could rest for 30 minutes. 

Then I started rolling the dough out again, trying to keep it square shaped and began the second tour. 

After 3 tours I had to trace back my steps because I forgot to mark the dough with one, two or three holes so it's important to mark it so it's easier to see how many tours the dough got.

Since I still had shredded cheese I decided to make cheese palmiers. It took me about 30 minutes to bake them in a preheated oven. I actually had to turn the temperature on 175C when they were done puffing so they could cook all the way through.

I used a lot of cheese on the inside, outside, basically everywhere!
Even though the butter was giving me a hard time the result was still nice. The fruits of my labor were several savory cheesy hearts.

I think puff pastry is one of the best dough to work with because it goes well with both sweet and savory. And I never though I would say this, but I would definitely make it again! But not when I'm in a hurry =)

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