Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pinwheel Pastries

I can't stop eating this.  It's ridiculous! While it's not nearly as bad as gnawing a stick of butter, sometimes I almost feel like I should just do exactly that :) Ok maybe not, but it'd be darned good!

King Arthur Flour came up with a really interesting recipe for Blitz Puff Pastry recently that I tried and really really enjoyed... Enough to make it twice in the past few days and eat it all!! It's again, just really pathetic, how little willpower I have against a puffy, flaky, buttery pastry.  You put it in your mouth and you just can't stop.  Especially with homemade jam, some almond cream (frangipane) and you're just in heaven!

Oh and genius tip from Cooks Illustrated that I carried over into this - If you hate scraping things like shortening out of a measuring cup, wrap the cup in a piece of plastic wrap, and then it just pops right out with no cleanup.  I tried this with the sour cream and it worked really nicely.

Blitz Puff Pastry
adapted from KAF

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cold butter, cut in chunks
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c. sour cream, cold

Oven: 400F, about 1hr to prepare
about 12-16 pastries, depending on size and shape

Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor (you can do this in a stand mixer too) and pulse a couple times to aerate and combine.  Add the chunks of cold butter and pulse about 2-3 times, until some of the chunks have been broken up, but fairly large pieces remain.  Add the sour cream and pulse another 2-3 times until the dough looks like a bunch of curds that doesn't look like it will hold together - it will! Trust me on this.  Squeeze a handful (don't cut your finger - I already did that for you) and it should hold together.  If not, add a tablespoon of ice water, but again, you should not need this.

Dump the dough out onto a floured counter or board, and pat and press together into roughly an 8x11 rectangle - the size of a sheet of paper.  You can use a bench scraper to help you do this next part if you're worried about stickage or crumbling.

With a short end of the dough facing you, fold the top third down over the middle, brush the excess flour off of it, then fold the bottom third up so that it looks like a tri-fold letter.  This is Turn 1.  Roll the dough back out (keep scooting it around in the flour to make sure it doesn't stick) to the 8x10, and do Turn 2 in the same manner.  If your dough is still cool enough that it's still not sticking too much, quickly do Turn 3 - otherwise, refrigerate for about 10 mins, then do Turn 3.  I can generally do all 3 turns in one go, but I'm moving pretty quick about it.  Don't forget to brush off excess flour between the layers.

After 3 turns have been completed, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins while you prepare whatever filling you want to use - jam, chocolate, almond filling (recipe follows), etc.

After 30 mins, unwrap the dough and cut it in half so you have 2 pieces, roughly the shape of a square.  Rewrap one half and put it back in the fridge while you work with the other half.  Roll it to a rectangle about 10x14.  With a sharp knife or pizza cutter (it works surprisingly well and it's fast!), trim the edges so that they're straight.  Save the scraps for sprinkling with sugar and making sugar straws, or cheese for cheese straws.

Divide the dough into squares (generally 4" for me, and about 6 per sheet, for 12 total) and relocate onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Place a tablespoon of fruit filling in the center of a square, and a tablespoon of almond filling on top.  Make diagonal cuts from the corners into the edge of the filling in the center, and fold every other (alternating) corner into the center, pinching the ends in the center to form the pinwheel.  You can also use an egg wash (or egg white wash, whatever you have on hand) to seal the corners together.  Brush the tops of the pastries with the wash and sprinkle coarse sugar on top for some sparkle.  Bake about 15mins at 400F or until the tops and bottoms are golden brown.

You can also make other shapes such as packets, turnovers, a simple open ended burrito style, or fold in the edges to make a square nest.  I've even rolled into croissants and filled with chocolate and almond.  It's rough puff pastry - easy, fast, and options are endless.  Works also very well for savoury fillings and topping a chicken pot pie or other dishes :)

Almond Cream Filling (Frangipane)
adapted from Baking with Julia

1 c sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 stick butter, soft
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tb cornstarch
1/2 tsp almond extract

Place the almonds, butter, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor (you don't have to wash this out if you've just made the puff pastry inside it) and process until it forms a smooth paste. Add the cornstarch and extract, and pulse again to combine.  Use immediately if using for danishes (while it's still soft), or refrigerate until ready to mold for croissants or other filled pastries.

No comments:

Post a Comment