A couple of months ago, I attended the Pastry making class at Creative Culinaire. I learned how to make danish pastries and criossants and finally knew the difference between criossants and puff pastry. I had once tried to use ready-made puff pastry to make croissants and wondered why it did not rise. Through the class, I learned how terribly tedious it is to roll, fold, chill, roll, fold, chill (multiply that like 3 times) the dough. I have not had the courage to attempt it at home yet.
So when I come across this recipe from King Arthur Flour, I was really glad its so simple. Its called blitz puff. It uses the blender to cut the cold butter quickly without melting it. King Arthur Flour website is great! It has all the pictures and details so you know if you are on the right track. I must remember to keep going back there for other recipes.
The smell in the kitchen was Sooooooo good when the puffs were baking in the oven that it in itself was worth the effort (also because the effort was so minimal).
You need to work the dough very quickly. Especially in hot and humid Singapore, or else the butter will melt and end product will not be flaky anymore. Further, the dough is really really soft. So soft that you'd think that its impossible to roll. So you need to be really generous with the dusting of flour. Keep picking the dough up and dust the bottom so that it does not stick to the table.
I made mine into apple turnovers, inspired by the very talented Lily Wai.
Mine did not look half as flaky as Lily's nor King Arthur's, nonetheless, it was DELICIOUS! My entire family loved it. The first batch I made was almost wiped out soon after it emerge from the oven and that was about 10pm at night. My son ate two. I made them again for my son and daughter's school picnic.
Replicating the recipe here for your easy reference and mine too.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cold butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1) To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
2) Cut the cold butter into large cubes, blitz it together with the flour using a blender till it's unevenly crumbly, with larger bits of butter remaining intact.
3) Stir in the sour cream. The dough will be craggy, but cohesive.
4) Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and bring it together, if necessary, with a few quick kneads.
5) Pat the dough into a rough square, then roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle.
6) Dust both sides of the dough with flour. Starting with one of the shorter (8") ends, fold it in thirds like a business letter, flip it over (so the open flap is on the bottom), and turn it 90°.
7) Roll the dough into an 8" x 10" rectangle again. Fold it in thirds, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before using.
3 tablespoons Instant ClearJel® or cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen or apples - peeled and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to seal pastries (optional)
*If you use cornstarch, you'll want to dissolve it in a little cold water, rather than stir it into the sugar.
1) While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Mix the sugar and ClearJel till well combined. If you're using cornstarch, mix it with enough cold water to dissolve.
2) Add the sugar mixture to the raspberries, tossing to combine. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon (and the cornstarch/water mixture, if you're using cornstarch).
3) Heat the mixture in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring, till the berries soften and fall apart. The mixture will be thick and jam-like, even though it doesn't really warm up much; this will take under 5 minutes. If you use cornstarch, cook and stir till the mixture bubbles and thickens. You can prepare the filling up to several days before; cover and refrigerate till you're ready to use it.
4) You can also do this in a microwave; heat till the berries soften, then stir till they fall apart and the mixture thickens, like jam.
1) When you're ready to assemble the turnovers, preheat the oven to 400°F or 200 C. Roll the chilled dough into a 16" square. Cut sixteen 4" squares, for small, triangular turnovers. For round turnovers, use a turnover press to cut nine 4 1/2" rounds. Re-roll the dough scraps, and cut 4 or 5 additional rounds, as many as you can get out of the scraps.
2) If desired, for a tighter seal, brush two adjoining edges of each square (or half of each circle) with 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water.
3) Place about 2 teaspoons filling slightly off-center in each square. Or about 4 teaspoons slightly off-center of each round; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
4) Fold the turnovers in half. If you've cut the dough in squares, fold in half diagonally, to create triangular turnovers. Press the edges with a fork to seal.
5) Place the turnovers on a baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment to catch any spills. Bake in the preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're a deep, golden brown; you may see some of the filling beginning to ooze out.
6) Remove the turnovers from the oven, and cool on a rack.