Sunday, February 01, 2009

Thing that makes me happy

puff pastry layers copy


I am a simple girl who derives happiness from many simple things in life. Coffee, chocolate, flowers, books, photography, snow, kindness from a stranger, a thought provoking conversation, emails from friends, silly jokes and most recently, the making of puff pastry.

Perhaps it's the intimacy with the dough that I covet. To make puff pastry,(at least for a small batch), we were taught to do it by hands. Everytime I roll out the dough for more turns, I feel that the dough and I are working as a team. I need to be sensitive to its hints on when to stop rolling, and when a little stretch is desired. This may sound a little superstitious, but I believe that the dough can sense if you are scared to work with it. And if you are intimidated, it will mischievously make things difficult for you.

006 copy


Lucky for me, as a member of the Daring Bakers last year, I had my first experience with laminated dough when we made Danish Braid for the June Challenge. Though the process is not identical, there are many similarities. It also helps that I have recently staged at one of the country's top laminated dough master's patisserie. I picked up a few tricks when observing the master make croissants and other breakfast pastries. That experience itself is worth another blog entry.

pithivier1


So back to my puff pastry. The whole process took 3 days, in which we allowed sufficient time for the dough to rest in the chiller. The resulting puff pastry was used to make Pithivier - a puff pastry pie filled with frangipane. The scrape of the puff pastry dough was collected, and used to make apple turnovers. Our thoughtful chefs baked them just before break time, so we can enjoy freshly baked apple turnovers as snack. The fresh from the oven's apple turnovers tasted so buttery and delicate. I almost ate two!

Not a big frangipane fan, I took the pithivier home for picture taking and passed the remaining Pithivier to my friend Heather, who sent her whole pie to her family in Michigan!

apple turnovers


I had so much fun making puff pastry in class that I persuaded Heather to make it again in her apartment this weekend. Unfortunately, that didn't materialize because I couldn't roll out of bed on Saturday morning to buy the ingredients! I blame it on the oily and msg-laden chinese food we ate on Friday night.

As I finally dragged my lazy bum out on Sunday afternoon, I bought all the ingredients and decided to make it on the only table I have in my tiny studio. While the rest of the world is watching Superbowl, I gently work on my puff pastry dough. Rolling, folding, turning and resting when it tells me to. The puff pastry dough has been rested in the refrigerator for 2 hours now, I think it's ready for the next 2 turns.

apple turnovers 1


After a total of 6 turns, my puff pastry dough will be frozen and waiting to be transformed into a delicious dessert when OCT comes visit in March! A tarte tatin perhaps? Or Nutella turnovers? Or maybe I will fill some with savory filling. OCT is green with envy of all the people who have eaten the pastries I bring home. So I hope the homemade puff pastry will alleviate his jealousy when he comes visit!

26 comments:

Patricia Scarpin said...

Mandy, you are my hero - making puff pastry from scratch sounds like a huge challenge.
Well done, girl! :D

Amanda said...

I have always wanted to make my own puff pastry but have been too scared. You are lucky to get formal training on this because you will get all the special advice and tips about making it. I wish you lived closer to me so you could guide me on my puff pastry endeavors!

veron said...

this looks fantastic Mandy! I remember when I was at FPS, Pierre Herme passed it through the laminator.

bp said...

Came by to wish you Happy Niu Year (not too late!), and Mandy, I'm happy to see you having a great time in school and all your awesome bakes, and especially to hear that OCT will be visiting you soon! Now that's a big reason to smile =)...

Meanwhile, have a happy week! God bless!

duodishes said...

Something about flaky, buttery pastry. It's heaven sent.

Maria said...

That would make anyone happy!! Your puff pastry is GORGEOUS!! I have never made it, maybe I will give it a whirl!

squirrelbread said...

brilliant. that would make me VERY happy.

cheers!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Was it your first??? It's so perfect! It would make me so happy to eat that phitiver!!!

Exodio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hayley said...

Puff pastry is sooo yummy! And it's so satisfying to make it yourself. Your pastries look delicious!

Sara said...

Your puff pastry looks fabulous, I am so impressed! I usually buy the all-butter puff pastry at Trader Joes.

Bunny said...

Oh how beautiful homemade puff pastry is, I am jealous and I envy you!!

The Chic Cakery said...

Puff pastry from scratch? Are you kidding me? Ask me how impressed I am! Those pastries look amazing! And now, I'm going to have to settle for a semi-stale doughnut from the conference room... sigh.

Ladykaren said...

HI Mandy,
I'm Karen and I must say it's awesome to read your blog. I love to cook and bake (especially baking) and I have thoughts of going to Le Cordon Bleu or French pastry school before. It's funny to read about how you search for a recipe online at times if you have the raw ingredients at home because I am just the same way like you.
I am originally from Malaysia and move to Chicago once I got married (my husband is from here). It's great to know other fellow Malaysians/Singaporeans in the foreign land. I am definitely going to try some of the recipes you have posted. :) Especially cakes and puff pastries.

Manggy said...

Great work Mandy! I find it a little shocking that you don't like Frangipane, though! Ha ha ha :) I vote for millefeuille! With nutella! :)

mycookinghut said...

WOW! That is gonna be a challenging thing for me!

Happy Homebaker said...

Your puff pastry is simply awesome!! I once tried making croissant, and I ended up with an ugly mass of butter & dough, lolz ;)

Talita said...

Wow! My mouth is watering! This looks so delicious!! I love it!

Netts Nook said...

That looks great I bet it even tastes better great work.

Missy said...

i love puff pasty! yumy! and uve got a nice shot here

Jude said...

The layers of puff is amazing. Been wanting to try making my own puff pastry.

creampuff said...

I want to cry from happiness. This is beautiful. Congratulations on your puff pastry!

Mandy said...

thank you all for your lovely comments!

I wish I could send all of you some puff pastry love!

Katie said...

Making Puff Pastry is quite the undertaking and I hate the waiting 3 days because I always want to eat it right away. So I gave up along time ago. Maybe I should take it up again, and your pictures are beautiful.

niagaragirl said...

Really beautiful work here. I hope to get back to puff pastry sometime in the future. Will use your images here as inspiration ;-)

Kelly said...

When I was in culinary school I loved ... did I say loved? LOVED making laminated dough. These days I make it for special occasions. I always make a double batch so I can stash some in the freeser.

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