Puff pastry - Savory, Sweet and Plain versions

How do you start your baking at home? Do you work out stuff like
- Is there enough butter and flour for tomorrow's pastry?
- Have I got the fruits I require for the topping etc.? or, if you are working
- Have I got enough time

Mine goes like this.....

Sunday night:
Tomorrow is ....Monday? Monday indicates a new timing for the 'load shedding', so may be we will go off at ---a.m and back by ----a.m? (3hrs. at one go). No no! better to watch out, keep tabs on the new timing tomorrow and bake on Tuesday!

The load shedding starts at 10:00a.m. As soon as I get back from office, without even a courteous namaste/hi (If I begin to chat, I tend to get carried away and forget the important stuff), I ask -"Auntyji, aaj current kitne baje waapas aaya?" ("Aunty, when did the electricity come back?" Putting 'come back' any other way doesn't sound the same!). Aunty replies - "Baarah baje aaya aur phir char baje gayaa aur abhi waapas aaya." (Came back at 12:00pm., went off again at 4:00p.m., and came back just now(around 6:00p.m.).") So you see! We put up with 5hrs of current cuts these days - I can now shout out from my rooftop that I am not wasting electricity or contributing to shortage of resources!! In the night I remind myself that I have to finish baking the black currant croissants by 9:30a.m. next morning before the current goes off again ,and even put a reminder on my cell!

Tuesday morning:
6:30a.m.: Husband makes tea, I am thawing the dough.
7:00a.m.: Husband makes rotis, I am rolling the dough.
8:00a.m.: Husband makes subzi, I am finally making the croissants (Puff pastries rolled into croissants with black currant jam filling in 4, and cheedar cheese filling in 4)!
8:20a.m.: Husband buys the short break, and drops the kids as I break off (a little bit of my back too) to have my second cuppa!
8:50a.m.: I pre-heat the oven.
9:00a.m.: I put 7 to 8 blackcurrant croissants into the hot oven as I take no chances.
9:10a.m. - Current goes off!!!

I tell you, despite all my permutations and combinations based on the 'current condition' during the past few weeks things still went kaput! I recall Mr.Patwardhan's face as he drones out some strange lullaby
Z = Z_t Z_c Z_n Z_e Z_r Z_v\,
and me drooping on my desk zzzzz..... Maybe I should have paid more attention to my 'Statistical Physics' classes but who knew that science could actually decide your fate!!

Anyway, I kept the baking tray out and told my dear ever-helpful neighbour K to please put back the tray inside the oven and bake at 220 deg.C. for 15 minutes or till the puffs turned slightly brown, and left for work. These are not supposed to take longer than 10 to 12 minutes but the first batch in mine took 20minutes nearly to bake through!

And this is what I ate when I came back:

I. Black currant jam filled puff pastry:
Classically a puff pastry croissants should have many turns but mine does not. There is a reason - I made these with children in mind, and I prefer making them in small sizes as you never know when they might reject and say 'yuck'! Why waste big pieces? Hence only one turn!

I rolled out the puff pastry dough into a 4mm thick sheet - cannot recall the size but it was nearly 9"x6". I cut it into two 9x3" rectangles, which I further cut into several triangles. Place the filling (very little of black currant jam) in the broad end and roll towards the narrow end of the triangle. I made about 7 to 8 such croissants. Despite the break in the baking, the pastry was flaky and crisp and tasty! The children absolutely loved this, and I sneaked out a small bit for P before it got over.

Blackberry puffs

II. Plain Puff squares:
A day before his birthday we enjoyed the leftover 9x3" rectangle, by simply cutting them into small squares and baking it to flakes. I intended to make these, but I suppose Indians prefer the savory to the sweet - my kids said they did not want any more cream, just the puffs, and no sugar sprinkles:)

More puffs

III. Savory samosa filling in puffs:
On 16th Jr.P's request was puffs again for the birthday party. I made these again right from scratch, i.e., from the dough stage early that morning, but ideally you should start on it a day or two before. Except for a little difficulty in the final rolling of the dough, I did not face any other problem. This time I used my regular samosa filling -
2 boiled and peeled potatoes
1/4 cup - boiled peas
Salt to taste, black salt - a pinch
Chaat masala - 1/8 tsp.
Dhania powder - 1/8 tsp.
Dhania chopped - 1 tbsp.
Roasted coriander seeds - 1/2tsp.
Roasted saunf - 1/2 tsp.
Roasted jeera - 1/2 tsp.
Powder the roasted ing. coarsely (the dhania should just split) in a mortar and set aside.
Mash the potatoes and peas, and mix all the ingredients well.
Place 1 tsp. of the filling on the broad side of the puff pastry sheet and roll up towards the narrow end the same way as for the previous filling.
Pre-heat oven at 250 deg.C. Reduce to 220 deg. C. , and bake for 10 to 12 minutes till the top just starts browning.
I could not take many pictures or 'a cut open' picture as these were really in demand and getting over soon. I managed these however.

Puffs with samosa filling

The Puff Pastry Dough was taken from here (From Tartlette). I followed the recipe exactly and also the method except for using vegan butter. Since the recipe is a long and patient process, I have not put it down here. She gives it so beautifully in hers - I don't really need to go through all that trouble:). If you are in a hurry use the blitz pastry version Anita of Dessert First has put out. I followed the first version but refrigerated for 10 to 20 minutes between each fold instead of 1/2hr. This made the dough difficult to handle as the weather here is warm - 20 minutes does not do anything to chill the dough. Except for difficulty in handling which resulted in adding more flour there was no difference in taste. Looks while you may notice that the last photo has more bumpy surface, which did not affect the taste!

Please follow link for the basic pastry recipe. Like I said before most of the creations are sweet but I think the samosa filling was a winner as savory is more popular than sweets in this region.

Please look up this site too which offers a beautiful pictorial lesson.

The basic needs are 'cold temperature' so that you still have a few pieces of butter in your dough. Its got something to do with creating pockets of steam around the surrounding area while baking in a very hot oven which in turn results in the flaking the pastry.

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