Puff pastry has been calling to me lately – loudly! In my last post I used the pre-made frozen kind for Biscoff Apple Pastries, which made them very quick and easy…not to mention light and flaky! I have nothing against puff pastry in a box, and always keep some on hand, but when I have time on my hands it’s just more fun and rewarding to make it myself.
Unlike croissants or danish, the dough for puff pastry doesn’t use yeast, so if you’re a yeastophobe
(yes, it’s a real word…look it up!) (oh, fine…you won’t find that word in the dictionary, but it’s a very real condition!) this dough is for you. Traditional puff pastry is made a lot like croissants, with a layer of butter over the dough and a lot of folding and rolling. The method I use is easier and results in a more uniform dough, though you will sacrifice a tiny bit of flakiness. Unless you’re a French pastry chef, you probably won’t notice.
You will, however, still be doing a LOT of rolling and folding. If you don’t spend a lot of time in the gym, expect sore abs. Look at it this way: rolling pastry is good exercise for your boobs and abs (for those male readers, make that pecs and abs) and the workout means you won’t have to feel so guilty about sampling the goods later. Yes, when it comes to goodies I’m a master of rationalization!
There are shortcuts you could take if you want to try these. For instance, the filling I made is very similar to jam. I wanted some whole berries (and a little lemon “zing”), so I made it from scratch. But once the turnovers are baked the whole berries aren’t very obvious, so jam would be fine. And of course you could use frozen puff pastry…but then you’d miss out on all the buttery fun. Your call!
Here’s how I make mine:
(pictures are at the bottom of the post)
|Tempting Raspberry Turnovers|| |
- 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, frozen at least ½ hour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cake flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of water, for an egg wash
- 1 recipe of raspberry-lemon filling
- 1 recipe of pastry cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar and a little milk or water for a drizzle, if desired
- Using a large grater, grate the frozen butter. Return the grated butter to the freezer for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) combine both types of flour and salt.
- On low speed with a dough hook, blend the butter and flour together just until mixed.
- Slowly add the lemon juice, and then the water - a little at a time, until the dough holds together. Don't over-mix!
- On a generously floured surface, roll into an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Fold it like you would a letter, bringing one of the short ends over to the middle and then bringing the other end over it, always dusting off any extra flour.
- Turn the dough one-quarter turn and roll out again into an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds.
- Turn, roll, and fold one more time. Wrap in heavy plastic (or put dough into a zipper bag) and refrigerate for an hour.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out, fold it, turn. Roll it out, fold it, turn. Roll it out, fold it....and cut the dough in half. Return one half to the refrigerator for now.
- Roll the dough half into a rectangle that's 12-inches by 8-inches for big, puffy turnovers or 16-inches by 8-inches if you prefer less pastry with your filling!
- Put the dough on a plastic wrap covered cookie sheet, lay another piece of plastic wrap over it, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to make sure the butter inside the dough is firm.
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Remove from the refrigerator and cut into 4-inch squares.
- Beginning at an imaginary diagonal line, spread a thin layer of pastry cream over half of each square, leaving a clean edge so it can seal properly. Put about a tablespoon of filling (or jam) over the pastry cream. Don't worry if it isn't perfectly covered...it will spread as it gets warm. Barely moisten the edges around the filling with water.
- Fold the dough diagonally over the cream and jam. Press the edges gently and place on a baking sheet. Press along the two edges with a fork.
- Mix together the egg and water and brush lightly over pastries.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a rich, golden brown.
- If you want to add a drizzle, mix enough milk or water into a cup of powdered sugar to make a thick liquid and drizzle over cooled turnovers.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough, or flatten it into a rectangle, wrap it well, and freeze for another use.
The pastry cream and raspberry-lemon filling may be made before you begin the puff pastry or (if you’re quick) while the dough is chilling. Make sure neither is warm when used on the pastry squares.
Lemon Pastry Cream
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- In a medium bowl, blend the sugar and cornstarch together. Slowly whisk in the water. Add the egg yolks and beat well.
- In a medium pan over medium-low heat, bring the half & half and lemon zest to a simmer.
- Pour half of the simmering half & half over the egg mixture in the bowl while whisking.
- Immediately pour it back into the remaining hot half & half in the pan while whisking. Increase the heat to medium, and whisk briskly until it thickens. This should only take a few minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and lemon juice and allow it to cool on the counter, stirring often. Keep it covered when you’re not stirring.
Once cooled, keep refrigerated until needed.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
12 ounces frozen raspberries (not sweetened), divided
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
- In a small cup whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together 8 ounces of the raspberries, 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.
- Turn heat to medium and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Turn temperature down to medium-low and continue to cook and stir for 5 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch mixture and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the remaining berries and fold gently to incorporate. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool thoroughly. Once cooled, keep refrigerated until needed.
Here are some visuals for you – trust me, you’ll get the hang of it quickly!
Although I love the combination of raspberries and lemon, don’t limit yourself to my favorites! Try chopped apples tossed in cinnamon sugar, or apple butter, peach preserves, or finely chopped chocolate and walnuts. Please, if you come up with any unique combinations, leave a comment and tell me about it!
I promise a healthy recipe next. It’s going to be a stretch, but I’ll try.