Okay, I made the Eccles cakes, but those are made with preserved fruit, which is for winter. It’s June; we have beautiful fresh fruit. So just for fun, this morning I made a few little breakfast pastries with (most of) the rest of the quick puff pastry. I totally need practice with forming the pastries. It’s a strain on all of us, but we’ll manage somehow.
One trick to baking with laminated dough is making sure the edges are free to puff. You do that by slicing off the folded edges. That leaves some waste dough that you really can’t use for pastries. The whole point of laminated dough is the layers, and you obviously won’t be getting the layers if you just mash the leftovers together and reroll them. You can use them for cheese straws; Ciril Hitz likes to chop up the leftover pieces, mix them with other ingredients, then divide that among muffin cups and bake it. Actually, you can mash them up and reroll them and use that as a base for Alsatian onion tart, and I might do that with these leftovers. Anyway . . .
I only made a very small batch of quick puff pastry the other day, so I don’t have a lot to work with. There are only two of us, though, so I don’t need a lot to work with. First I rolled out the pastry to what I thought was a good thickness (about ¼ inch):
Then I sliced off the edges using a pizza cutter:
Then, using the pizza cutter again, I cut the sheet into what I though were appropriate sizes for the pastries I wanted to make. This is one of the things I need to work on.
One thing we did in the class with Ciril Hitz was make little petits pains au chocolat. No, that’s not redundant; we made smaller ones than the standard size, and that’s what I did here. For the standard size, you use a 4″ x 6″ piece of pastry; you lay a stick of chocolate on the pastry, fold the pastry over it, lay another stick of chocolate, then finish rolling the pastry. Chef Ciril’s method is to have a long strip of pastry on which you lay a row of chocolate sticks. That makes much smaller petits pains. The chocolate sticks are made especially for this:
I wrapped the dough around the chocolate, then I just cut the strip into pieces the length of chocolate sticks and slashed the tops.
I cut the rest of the dough into squares to make little fruit pastries. Fold the square in half diagonally:
Then, using a sharp knife, cut borders, but not all the way to the end; you want to leave the center attached to the border at the point:
Now open the square and apply a little egg white to the edges of the center. I use the egg white that comes in a carton and just pour a little into a small dish:
Then you fold the borders over and press them gently so they stick to the egg white:
You don’t have to dock the center of the pastry if you fill it; the filling will hold that down and keep it from puffing. The border will puff up all around and make a little container for the filling. I didn’t cut the first one very well, so I didn’t put fruit in that. As a base for the fruit, I mixed up a little cream cheese (about a tablespoon) with a little granulated sugar (about a teaspoon). I put a blob in the center of each pastry and spread it out. Then I cut a couple of strawberries and put them on the cream cheese filling. All the pastries baked at 375℉ for 20 minutes:
And remember that this is quick puff pastry, not the real thing; but look at the layers!
They’re pretty tasty, too. I’ll have to keep practicing so they look as good as they taste.