My Adventure with Puff Pastry

I have never used puff pastry before and was completely intimidated. After all, those are the most delectable desserts you see on the dessert tray at the fancy restaurant, with their perfectly golden flaky crust. You can almost smell the buttery yumminess just by looking at it. You can envision the soft texture in your mouth, those paper-thin layers, begging to be pealed apart. This isn’t a box of Betty Crocker, how in the world was I going to make something like this? This was the real deal, this was pastry!

I saw a photo online and it looked beautiful, I was suddenly determined to make my best attempt. After all what’s the worst I could screw it up? I figured the worst-case scenario would be to deep clean my kitchen and toss something inedible. OK, so the directions called for a box of frozen puff pastry, thawed. Wait a minute; this stuff comes in a box? IMG_6543Feeling much more confidant, how bad could it be if it comes in a box, I headed to the grocery store. There it was next to the frozen waffles, my box of puff pastry. I was a little surprised that it was $7, but then I kept picturing the dessert cart and remembering this was a little bit fancier than a bowl of Jell-O, so I forked over the cash and headed home. Now the dessert I was about to make was puff pastry filled with hazelnut spread (AKA Nutella) and raspberry preserve. I laid out everything on the counter and it dawned on me that there are only 3 ingredients here. How difficult can this really be? My confidence was suddenly bolstered. Although part of me thinks the confidence was due to an usually clean kitchen, without that intimidating pile of dirty dishes staring at me. And Yes, I am convinced that they do have the ability to actually stare. The Puff Pasty was almost thawed but my impatience got the better of me, time to open the box. Ok, this doesn’t look so bad. It was a square sheet and had the consistency of pie crust. It was folded in thirds, the directions called for it to be cut along the fold lines. When I cut it into thirds they looked a bit like lasagna noodles. I lightly floured the counter top and put my 1/3 pieces of dough down. Next step of the recipe was to dust with flour and roll them out. Roll? You mean with a rolling pin? Who in the world has a rolling pin? Well I can tell you that my postage stamp sized kitchen certainly does not. Nothing was going to get in the way of my puff pastries, not even Grandma’s rolling pin. I might not have one, but I did have a tall drinking glass. IMG_6545OK this will have to do, and you know what? It worked perfectly. So, I now have my three long pieces of dough, time to cut each piece into thirds, now I have 9. The recipe I was following called for very specific amounts of Nutella and Jam. This seemed ridiculous, just get a knife and smear a dollop of Nutella on the pastry, then another blob of jam on top of that. It doesn’t need to be exact.IMG_6551 Just leave a little bit of empty space around the edge to be able to fold it over and seal it up. The recipe called for using a beaten egg as the glue to seal the pastry closed on itself, but I found this to be slimy and didn’t seal all that well. What worked even better was getting a few drips of water and just running my finger around the edge, fold in half and press closed. Put your little pastry pockets onto a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and poke a few slits into the top of each one. Cook for 18 minutes at 400 degrees. IMG_6563Some of the ones I sealed with egg did not seal all that well and leaked a little bit of Nutella guts on the pan, but happily that was the closest to disaster I came. I dusted a few of them with powdered sugar and stood back to admire my first attempt at pastry. Let’s just say these were gobbled up almost as quickly as they were made.IMG_6583

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