I told you last week that I am on a diet, that you’re going to see more salads and stir-fries and I am eating healthy. Today I post butter layered, utterly butterly buttery puff pastry recipe. Therein lies the twist.
These are from the heydays of my carefree eating a couple of months back which I am posting now instead of earlier because my timing is bad and I can’t remember nothing.
There is no excuse not to make puff pastry and none whatsoever to not eat it. I’ll forego my entire lunch (if I really have to) for one piping hot, fresh from the oven egg puff that crackles with every bite spilling lovely crispy golden shards of puff pastry down my kurti.
I’ve always heard how puff pastry is really complicated and difficult and that it requires lots of skill and practice. I won’t say it’s easy. It takes time and patience but it is definitely doable and successfully at that by any first timer. This was my first attempt and what can I say other than that they were simply astounding.
This was my bedtime routine that entire week. I’d lug my pastry dough, jumbo rolling pin, flour and plywood board to our bedroom every night leaving it all by the bedside to let the dough soften while I got Yuvi and Hasini into their night dress, while Yuvi sang, while Hasini sharpened her pencils down to nothingness, while they tumbled around the pillows, while Yuvi told me what Bheem and Dolu Bolu did that day, while they laughed their heads off at made up words “Druka”, “buduka”, “damputippa”, while they settled into their beds and dozed away. I’d then step over to my Pastry Dough rolling out station and in a great cloud of flour, start. I’d quickly roll out the dough, fold back in, turn it around and again roll out, fold back in, turn around, roll out, fold back in, roll, fold, turn, roll, fold turn until the butter held up. I’d stop when the butter started to ooze out. I’d shove it back into the fridge and continue later. I did this for 3 days maybe 4 or even 5, can’t say. I was lost in it. Then I finally rolled out the puff pastry dough into one large sheet, cut it up into smallish squares and froze them ready to be filled and baked.
D-day when I put them into the oven, I peer inside the oven every 5 minutes more anxious than when I was checking my engineering semester results. The first 10 minutes, the puffs sizzle and ooze butter. At this stage the puffs look sort of deflated and greasy and nothing like what they finally end up like. After 30 minutes, the puffs are nice, crispy and puffed up but not as golden on top as I’d like them to be. So I toast for 5 minutes and then they’re absolutely, unbelievably perfect just like the puffs in our local bakeries. I may have just received a “National award for best performance” in the “Puff Pastry Drama” category and I’ll have to give a humble Thank you speech. I cannot wipe the smile off my face for 3 days. I tell my friends at office, make an international call to tell Jagan, tell Hasini and Yuvi and everybody on facebook that I’ve cracked the puff pastry test.
Thank you Aarti of yummutummy for the flour to butter ratio of the puff pastry – 1:1. That’s enormous butter but puff pastry is all about butter – no substitutes.
I loved the idea of having puff pastry sheets lying in my fridge that I could pull out anytime, roll out, fill with egg and spiced fried onions (or spiced vegetables) and make bakery style puffs just like that. I felt cool!
I treasured those puff pastry sheets, rationing them and even freezing some for when Jagan returned home. I kept the fillings simple. The puff was the hero, director and music-director.
Prep time: 3 hours (rolling the dough at intervals + filling) Cooking time: 20 mins (fillings) Baking time: 30 mins (baking) 5 mins (toasting) Makes: 20 puffs
Ingredients – Puff Pastry
Cold Unsalted Butter – 400 gm Flour – 400 gm Baking powder – 1 tsp Salt – 1 tsp Ice cold water – as necessary
Ingredients – Egg Puff Filling
Boiled eggs – 3 Onions – 2 large Salt to taste Red chilli powder – 1 tsp Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp Coriander powder – ¼ tsp Oil – 2 tbsp
Ingredients – Vegetable Puff Filling
Carrots – 2 chopped fine Green beans – 1 cup chopped fine Onions – 2 large Salt to taste Red chilli powder – 1 tsp Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp Coriander powder – ¼ tsp Oil – 2 tbsp
Method – Puff Pastry
1.Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place 400 gm butter at the centre of it. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to bash up the butter into rectangular slab of about ½ inch thickness. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap around the butter and freeze.
2.Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Add ice cold water little at a time to the flour mixture and knead to form a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
3.Once the dough and butter are chilled, remove from fridge. Dust your working surface with flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Place the butter in the centre of the rectangle. Fold the bottom and top of the dough over the butter and then the left and right sides of the dough. You’ll have a small squarish rectangle now. Wrap this dough in plastic and chill about one hour.
4.Remove dough from fridge, dust your work surface with flour, roll out the dough into a long rectangle. Fold the top one-third of the dough over and then the bottom one-third of the dough like a letter that goes into an envelope. Now rotate the dough clockwise by 3 hours so that the bottom edge of the dough is the left edge now (If you were to rotate the dough 4 times in the same manner, your dough would come back to its original position).
5.Roll out dough vertically again into a long rectangle. Fold top one-third of dough and then the bottom one-third of the dough. Rotate clockwise by 3 hours. If the butter has started melting, wrap in plastic and freeze dough.
6.Continue to roll out the dough, fold and turn. Repeat atleast 10 times. This will create all those lovely layers. Stop if the butter starts oozing and chill the dough. Continue later once the dough is chilled. It may not be possible to roll out the frozen dough immediately out of the fridge. Let the dough soften till it thaws a bit and is roll-able. Act quickly once the dough is ready.
7.After 10-15 iterations of rolling and folding, roll out the dough into a large rectangle of about ½ inch thickness. Cut the dough into squares about 3 inches by 3 inches. Freeze in an air tight box till use.
Method – Egg Filling
1.Boil 3 eggs. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for about 7 minutes. Switch off and cover with a lid. Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Run eggs under cold water. Peel, slice each egg lengthwise in two. Set aside.
2.In a pan, heat oil. When hot, add the sliced onions. Add salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Mix well. Cover and cook till the onions are soft, slightly browned around the edges and the raw smell of the spice powders are gone. If not cooked through, sprinkle a tablespoon of water, cover and cook till done. Remove from heat.
Method – Vegetable Filling
1.In a pan, heat oil. When hot, add the sliced onions. Add chopped carrots and green beans. Add salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Mix well. Cover and cook till the onions are soft, slightly browned around the edges and the carrots and beans are cooked through and the raw smell of the spice powders are gone. If not cooked through, sprinkle a tablespoon of water, cover and cook till done. Remove from heat.
Method – Egg Puffs
1.Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2.Roll out a square of the puff pastry dough into a larger square. Place a tablespoon of the spiced fried onions at the centre. Place half a boiled egg on top of the spiced onions. Bring the four edges of the dough to the centre like an envelope to cover the egg. Repeat to make more egg puffs. Place on an ungreased baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins till the tops are golden brown. You may need to toast the last 5-7 minutes to get the golden top. Remove from oven. Enjoy piping hot.
Method – Vegetable Puffs
1.Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2.Roll out a square of the puff pastry dough into a larger square. Place about 1-1/2 tablespoon of the vegetable filling in the bottom half of the dough. Fold the top half over the bottom. Seal the edges well. Repeat to make more vegetable puffs. Place on an ungreased baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins till the tops are golden brown. You may need to toast the last 5-7 minutes to get the golden top. Remove from oven. Enjoy piping hot.