Cooking Class #3 -- Quick Puff Pastry

How to Make Quick Puff Pastry

 

Puff pastry in an instant??  No way . . . they say.  And they are probably right.  Puff pastry is one of the most majestic of doughs, but its preparation is an arduous task that requires a great deal of time.  Rolling, folding, turning, refrigerating, 6 times for Danish pastry, 8 times for the classic pastry, is a labor of much love and adoration.  And it is well worth it too, if you happen to have the time.

However, if you do not, Quick Puff Pastry is a little treasure that I hope you will enjoy.  It is an amazingly simple dough, that is assembled in minutes and produces an incredibly delicate and flaky pastry very much like the regal puff pastry.  It handles so easily and requires so little attention that even the most inexperienced beginner will produce masterful results every time.  

The number and combinations of fillings are inexhaustable.  I have included, in the following, a few of my very favorites.

 


 

Quick Puff Pastry

1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 cup sour cream

Cut butter into flour in your electric mixer until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  (You can do this in your electric mixer with perfect results.) Add sour cream and beat for 30 seconds.  Turn mixture out onto wax paper that is heavily dusted with flour.  Sprinkle a little more flour over the dough for ease of handling.  Shape into a ball and wrap in the floured wax paper.  Refrigerate overnight.  (Dough will keep for one week.)

To Assemble:

Dive dough into 4 parts.  Working one part at a time, roll it out on a floured pastry cloth until dough measures about 10x10-inches.  Spread 1/4 of the filling evenly over the dough.  Roll jelly roll fashion ending with a strudel that measures 3x10-inches and seam side down.

Place strudel in a lightly greased pan.  (Use a 12x6-inch pan so that you can bake the four strudels at one time.)  Repeat with the remaining 3 parts of dough.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.  Remove from the pan and cool.  Sprinkle generously with sifted powdered sugar.  Cut into slices when cool.


Apricot Strudel with Walnuts

1 recipe Quick Puff Pastry
1 cup apricot jam
1 cup chopped walnuts

Divide dough into 4 parts.  Working one part at a time, roll it out on a floured pastry cloth until the dough measures about 10x10-inches.  Spread 1/4 cup of apricot jam over the dough.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts.  Roll jelly roll fashion ending with a strudel that measures 3x10-inches and is seam side down.

Place strudel on a lightly greased 12x6-inch pan.  (You can bake the four strudels at one time.)  Repeat with the remaining 3 parts of dough and filling.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then cool strudels on a rack or a brown paper bag.  Sprinkle generously with sifted powdered sugar.  Cut when cool. Makes 24 to 30 slices.

Note:
Strudels can be frozen on a piece of cardboard and wrapped in plastic wrap and foil.  Defrost uncovered.  Do not freeze with the powdered sugar.


Chocolate Chip Danish

1 recipe Quick Puff Pastry
1/2 tablespoons Nestle's Quik
1 package (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Divide dough into 4 parts.  Working one part at a time, roll it out on a floured pastry cloth until the dough measures about 10x10-inches.  Spread 1/4 of the chocolate powder over the dough.  Sprinkle with 1/4 of the chocolate chips.  Roll jelly roll fashion ending with a roll that is about 3x10-inches and is seam side down.

Place Danish roll on a lightly greased 12x6-inch pan so that you can bake the four pastries at one time.  Repeat with the remaining 3 parts of dough and filling.

Bake in a preheated 350o oven for about 30 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and continue cooling on a rack or a brown paper bag.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  Cut into 3/4-inch slices when cool.  Makes 24-30 slices.

Note:
Danish can be frozen after they are baked.  Place them uncut on a piece of  cardboard and wrap them in plastic wrap and foil.  Do not sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Defrost them uncovered.


Old Fashioned Apple Strudel

1 recipe Quick Puff Pastry
2 apples, peeled and grated
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Divide dough into 4 parts.  Working one part at a time, roll it out on a floured pastry cloth until the dough measures about 10x10-inches.  Spread 1/4 of the apricot jam over the dough.  Spread 1/4 of the apples evenly over the jam.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the chopped walnuts over the apples.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar over all.  Roll jelly roll fashion ending with a roll that is about 3x10-inches and is seam side down.

Place strudel on a lightly greased 12x6-inch pan so that you can bake the four pastries at one time.  Repeat with the remaining 3 parts of dough and filling.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from the pan and continue cooling on a rack or on a brown paper bag.  Sprinkle generously with Vanilla Sugar.  Cut when cool.  Makes 24 to 30 slices.


Vanilla Sugar

Place 1 pound of sifted powdered sugar into a cannister or jar with a tight lid.  Snap two vanilla beans sharply in thirds and bury them in the sugar. Use on pastries, cakes and where powdered sugar is called for.  It will impart a gentle hint of vanilla to the sugar which is just marvellous.


Cinnamon Raisin & Walnut Danish

1 recipe Quick Puff Pastry
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins

Divide dough into 4 parts.  Working one part at a time, roll it out on a floured pastry cloth until the dough measures about 10x10-inches.  Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar, 1/4 the walnuts and 1/4 the raisins.  Roll jelly roll fashion ending with a roll that is about 3x10-inches and is seam side down.

Place Danish roll on a lightly greased 12x6-inch pan so that you can bake the four pastries at one time.  Repeat with the remaining 3 parts of dough and filling.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from the pan and continue cooling on a rack or on a brown paper bag.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.  Makes 24 to 30 slices.


Cinnamon Sugar

Combine 1 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a jar with a tight lid. Shake and roll until sugar and cinnamon are evenly mixed.
 
 

 

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