Archive | November, 2012

Puff Pastry for Palmiers

25 Nov

November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m extremely happy that the holidays are here because I’ll be baking in full force. The past couple of days I have been making a few items in preparation for Thanksgiving, so be prepared to see a few updates. This post is a little long because I’m posting step-by-step pictures on how to make puff pastry for Palmiers, so sit back and enjoy!

I was extremely excited to make puff pastry at home because it’s quite versatile in the products you can make with the dough. It is a time-intensive dough because it requires rolling, folding and resting of the dough in order to create the light and flaky layers.

The biggest challenge of making puff pastry is trying to keep the butter from melting. Since you are handling the dough so much, the temperature from your hands will soften the butter quite quickly. The key is to work fast and to work on a cool surface. I have a granite countertop, which helps keep the dough cool. Also, if the dough is too soft to work with, just pop it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before handling it again.

My end goal was to make Palmiers with the puff pastry dough, which are sometimes called palm leaves or elephant ears. The dough is basically rolled in either sugar or cinnamon sugar and baked until crispy and golden brown. Some other products you can use puff pastry for is chicken pot pie, fruit galettes, and turnovers. Puff pastry is used a lot for savory items, which is why it’s so versatile.

Ingredients:

125g cake flour

125g bread flour

1 tsp salt

125g-200g cold water

35g softened butter

250g cold butter

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: mix all the dries together in a mixer bowl. Mix with paddle. Add the 35g of softened butter.
  2. Add water a little at a time until dough comes together. The dough should look shaggy at this point.

Continue reading below for picture instructions. Note: At any time the dough is sticking, generously flour the surface area.

  1. Remove dough from mixer bowl and finishing mixing by hand. Flatten dough into a square; wrap and refrigerate. Meanwhile, prepare the butter (not pictured): loosely wrap the 250g of butter in plastic and slightly pound with rolling pin to soften. Shape into a square, wrap and refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes.
  2. Roll out four flaps of the dough so that there is a center spot for the butter.
  3. Place chilled butter in the center of the dough. (Make sure flaps are large enough to cover the butter. If they are not big enough, roll flaps out a little more).
  4. Fold each flap up and over towards the center of the butter.
  5. The dough now encases the butter. Together, this is known as the paton.
  6. Roll out: turn paton so that the seam side is down. Flour surface area and carefully roll out the paton to a rectangle, about 1/8-in thick.
  7. Make one fold with one end of the rolled out paton.
  8. Make a second fold with the other end of the paton. At this point, the paton may be a little warm from all the handling. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. After the paton has chilled, repeat steps 5-8 again to make a second set of folds. After making the second set of fold, you can wrap and refrigerate or freeze the paton until the next day.
  9. Roll out the paton to a large square/rectangle so that it is fairly thin. (Another option is to cut the paton in half before rolling it out so that it is easier to handle). Once rolled out, cut the square in half. Place one half of the dough in the freezer or refrigerator so that you are working with one piece at a time.
  10. Lightly sprinkle/spray some water on the dough. Generously sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the surface. Carefully flip the dough over to cover the other side with cinnamon sugar.
  11. Fold the edges over to create a flap that is about 1-in wide.
  12. Fold the flap over again. This should leave a small gap in the center.
  13. Fold one flap over to the other flap so that the center gap is now sealed. It should now resemble a log. Give the log a good press to seal and tighten. At this point, wrap the log and place in freezer for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut later!
  14. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into thin slices. If the log is still too soft, let it sit longer in the freezer. As you are cutting the slices, make sure the folds do not open up.
  15. Place slices on parchment-lined sheet pan, about an inch apart, as they will puff and expand in the oven.  Bake at 370F for 9 minutes, then flip each Palmier over and bake another 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Whew! It’s a long process, isn’t it?! But it’s worth it because the Palmiers are delicious! Also note that for unused portion of the dough, you can freeze for a few days and make other products with it. I used all my dough for Palmiers and it actually yielded quite a bit!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fresh Fruit Tart

8 Nov

November 8, 2012

I made this fruit tart since I was going home to visit. My parents are big fans of fruity, not so sweet desserts, so I knew they would like this fruit tart. Berries are out of season, so be prepared to pay a little more if you want to use them for the tart. The various fruits make this tart very appealing because of the bright, vibrant colors.

You can find ready-made crust at the supermarket, but I made mine from scratch. It is a Pate Brise dough, and fairly easy to make and can be frozen if not used right away.

For the Pate Brise Dough

Ingredients:

250g cake flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

125g cold butter, cubed

65 mL water

Yield: two 8-in tarts

Directions:

  1. Sift cake flour, salt, sugar together.
  2. Cut-in butter into dries using a bench scraper until you get lentil-size pieces of butter.
  3. Form a well with the middle of the mixture. Add some water.
  4. Sift the mixture with fingers to combine the water with the dries.
  5. Add more water as needed, but be careful not to add too much water.
  6. Continue to sift mixture until the dough comes together.
  7. Wrap and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  8. Carefully roll out dough and line tart mold.
  9. Blind bake the shell at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

For the pastry cream filling

Ingredients:

474mL milk

125g sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 egg yolks

50g cornstarch

Yield: ~2 cups, enough to fill one 8-in tart

Directions:

  1. Heat milk, vanilla, and half of the sugar in a saucepan. Occasionally whisk the mixture.
  2. In a bowl, whisk egg, yolks, sugar, cornstarch together.
  3. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, temper the egg mixture with half the liquid. Whisk.
  4. Return the tempered mixture back to the saucepan.
  5. Heat on low while stirring constantly until the mixture slightly thickens, about two minutes.
  6. Cool pastry cream over an ice bath, or cool overnight before filling the tart shell.

Assembling

  1. Fill tart shell with pastry cream.
  2. Carefully cut and slice strawberries and kiwis.
  3. Arrange fruits in any pattern.
  4. Nappage fruits to give a glossy sheen. You can buy apricot preserves, dilute it with some water and heat the mixture up. Apply nappage using a pastry brush.

 

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