Tag Archives: pastry

Profiteroles

This is the final installment of French Pastry Week, and I’m going to keep it short and sweet!

As I mentioned when I made Eclairs last week, I froze some of the pâte â choux to make profiteroles.

First, I removed the frozen, unbaked puffs of dough and baked them:

Puff!

Next I filled them with ice cream.  I chose to use strawberry ice cream because it seemed Spring-y.  Use your favorite!

Filled with ice cream

The beauty of these is you can stick the filled profiteroles into the freezer until ready to serve!

Place the profiteroles on a plate (if they’ve been in the freezer it’s a good idea to let them sit out for a few minutes to warm up slightly) and cover generously with chocolate sauce.  I made the Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, but you can use your own favorite recipe or even store bought.

Ready to eat!

Enjoy!

Yum!

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Mustard Batons

Ready To Eat

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is a quick and easy appetizer called Mustard Bâtons. I made the tapenade variation a few months ago when I made my French Table Feast.  I loved the Tapenade Bâtons, but this time I decided to stick with the original recipe.

You hardly need a recipe for this one, it’s so easy.  Take some puff pastry dough and roll it out.  Spread some mustard on half the rolled out dough.  Fold the other half of the dough over the mustard.  Cut the dough into strips and place on a baking sheet.  Brush the tops of  the strips with some lightly beaten egg, then optionally sprinkle with some poppy seeds.  Pop them in the oven and you’re done!  You can even freeze the unbaked bâtons and pull them out for a last-minute appetizer.

Fresh From the Oven

Of course I made this task a little more difficult by making my own whole wheat puff pastry.  The whole wheat adds an extra dimension of flavor to the bâtons.  I was afraid of having too strong a mustard flavor so I used less than the recipe called for.  It turns out the whole wheat flavor overpowered the mustard, so I should have used more.  My husband didn’t even know there was mustard until I mentioned it to him.  Even with mustard flavor not coming through enough I really like these!  They reheated nicely the next morning for breakfast.

With Herbed Cheese Scrambled Eggs on Asparagus

I served these along side Herbed Cheese Scrambled Eggs on Asparagus.

There’s not much else to say about this easy recipe.  If you are looking for something quick and easy to serve guests, I highly recommend this one.

7 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Adventures in Puff Pastry

Welcome to the second installment of French Pastry Week! Today we’re talking about puff pastry. I decided it would be a fun adventure to try making it from scratch.

Why did I make puff pastry when prepared puff pastry is so readily available and easy to work with? Well, the last time I purchased the leading brand of frozen puff pastry I was dismayed to discover that it contained partially hydrogenated oils, something I try to avoid. I had heard good things about an all-butter brand of frozen puff pastry available at Whole Foods. When I checked it out, I was shocked to see how expensive it was! I could not bring myself to pay that much for what was going to be part of an ordinary week-night meal.

To make this challenge even more interesting, I chose a recipe for whole wheat puff pastry.  The main reason for this is I found a great recipe in my favorite whole grain baking book (King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking – highly recommended!) that included fantastic instructions and even pictures!  Besides, I’m always trying to find ways to fit more whole grains into our diet.

Making Puff Pastry

Making whole wheat puff pastry is an all-day process, but there are large breaks while the dough rests.  It involves wrapping the dough around a prepared block of butter, then repeatedly rolling and folding the dough to create many layers of butter and dough.  The puff happens while baking: the melting butter layers create steam, which separates the layers of dough.

Let’s get started!

The dough and butter are prepared and chilled.  Before chilling, the butter is patted into an 8-inch square.  After chilling, roll the dough into a rough 12-inch square and place the butter on top at a 45-degree angle.

The butter is placed on the rolled-out dough

Fold the corners of the dough over the block of butter until they meet in the middle.  Pinch and seal the edges together, making a packet.  You may need to lightly wet the edges of the dough to make sure you get a tight seal.

The “Packet”

Roll the dough from the center out to a large 20 x 10 inch rectangle.

The rolled out dough

After brushing off any excess flour, fold the dough into thirds, first by folding up the bottom third, then by folding down the top third.  Next turn the dough 90 degrees to the right.  It should look like the picture below.

The dough is folded into thirds and turned

Repeat this process a total of six times.  After every two folds, rest the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour (puff pastry made with non-whole wheat flour does not need to rest as long).

Finishing

This recipe makes a lot of dough, so after my final roll I cut it into fourths.  Each quarter ended up weighing roughly 14 ounces.

Cut into fourths

I prepared three of the pieces of dough to freeze for future use (yay!).  After all that work, it is nice to have enough left over to use next time I want puff pastry.

Wrapped and ready to freeze

The Verdict

I couldn’t spend all that time making puff pastry and not bake any of it to see if it would “puff” or not.  So, I cut off a slice, rolled it out, and prepared it for baking.

Rolled out and ready to go in the oven

It puffed!  You can see the layers along the edge.  The inside had nice buttery layers, just like you’d expect.

The pastry puffed up nicely

In Conclusion

If you are interested in trying puff pastry, here are a couple of sites that might help you:

King Arthur Flour Classic Puff Pastry Recipe – this is not a whole wheat recipe

Preparing Puff Pastry – this page  has lots of photos of the process and good instructions

For those feeling wild and crazy enough to try whole wheat puff pastry, here are the ingredients you should use:

Dough:

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons water

Butter:

  • 4 sticks (1 pound total) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

I wonder what I am going to make with this puff pastry?

5 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Eclairs

It’s French Pastry Week here at From Scratch!  We’re kicking things off today with eclairs.  These eclairs are actually last week’s French Friday’s with Dorie recipe, but I was out of town for Spring Break and didn’t get a chance to make them.  I had hoped to make them a week early, but had to concede that getting the taxes done was more important than making eclairs (although a lot less fun!).

Dorie gives several options for filling and glazing the eclairs, suggesting vanilla, chocolate, and coffee in any combination.  She really gives you permission to be creative!  I chose to do the vanilla pastry cream filling and chocolate ganache glaze, because to me that is the “traditional” combination for eclairs.  I am intrigued by the vanilla glaze and may give it a try some day.

Pâte â choux, or cream puff dough, is very versatile.  It can be used to make sweet treats like eclairs and cream puffs, or savory dishes like gougères and Gnocchi à la Parisienne.  I made half my dough into puffs and froze them to make profiteroles for Easter.

Unbaked Puffs

Eclairs are very fun to make, though a little time consuming.  But, there are several distinct steps so you can break it up throughout the day.  First I made the Vanilla Pastry Cream and put it in the fridge to cool.  It tastes heavenly!  Next I made the pâte â choux.  It must be used while it is still warm.  I do not have the required pastry bag or large tip, so I improvised with a plastic zip-lock bag (as recommended by Dorie herself on the Eclairs P&Q).  I haven’t done much piping, so I was a little nervous, but it worked great!

The piped eclairs are baked and cooled.

Fresh Out of the Oven

Several Doristas had trouble with their baked eclairs sinking in after removing them from the oven.  Mine did deflate a little bit, but not enough for me to bother with re-making them.  I read some recommendations to cook them a little longer and I will try that next time.

Slightly Deflated

Finally, I made the chocolate ganache.  Assembly went more quickly than I expected.  The eclairs are sliced in half.  The vanilla pastry cream is piped onto the bottom halves.  The ganache is spread on the top halves, which are then placed on top of the eclairs.

Finished Eclairs

Oh. My. Goodness.  These are delicious!  There is nothing like a freshly made pastry.

You can check out all the other eclairs here.  So many different combinations of flavors!

——————-

Before I close, I want to give a shout-out to Rachel at Eaternal Bliss.  She hosted a giveaway for two copies of the cookbook Hello, Cupcake! and I was randomly selected as one of the winners!  I have only recently discovered Rachel’s blog and it is lovely.  Her photos are beautiful and her recipes very tempting!  Check out the beautiful butterfly cupcakes she made using Hello, Cupcake! as her inspiration.

7 Comments

Filed under Cooking