I approached these Apricot Pastries with caution. I did not want to get my hopes up because this recipe involved making my own puff pastry.
Yes, the recipe says "1/2 recipe Puff Pastry.. or 1 1/4 pounds store-bought puff pastry." I went for the challenge of making my own puff pastry.
Fortunately, this dough is totally flexible, in that you can make it over a couple of days and refrigerate it between folds. It got easier as I went along, probably because the butter finally got with the program.
|The final dough after six "turns."|
I've had some experience with croissant dough, and my favorite recipe involves mixing the butter with a bit of flour and shaping it into a block. In the case of this dough, you use butter straight from the refrigerator without mixing. The butter was a bit resistant to forming a cohesive block. I also think I made my butter block too thick. As I mentioned, it finally got with the program and cooperated.
Fortunately, I watched this video in advance of attempting the dough, and was comforted by the fact that Michel Richard, an amazing pastry chef, had butter leaking out of his dough at first. It's not just me. This dough is pretty forgiving.
I made the butter block and dough in the evening, and then proceeded to do the laminating process the next day. After the final fold, I refrigerated the dough overnight, until I had time to make these pastries. I rolled out the rest of the dough, wrapped it, and put it in the freezer. I've got big plans for this pastry. I am one proud baker.
Puff pastry. Check.
These apricot pastries are delicious. I cut off a piece of one to try and then managed to inhale the whole thing. The pastry pieces are rolled in sugar, filled with a pastry cream that is pretty easy to make, and then topped with poached apricot halves. Finally, they are glazed with melted apricot jam.
A friend suggested that I use a very sharp knife rather than a cookie cutter so that the edges will separate and get even more puffy. I was just happy to see them puff up as a sat on a stool staring at the oven window as they baked. Yes, I do that a lot.
Puff Pastry Recipe
1 pound pastry flour (alternatively, you can use a mixture of all purpose flour and pastry flour)
1 T salt
1 1/4 C ice water
1 pound very cold unsalted butter
- Blend the dry ingredients in the bowl of a large food processor.
- Add the water all at once, and mix with the blade until the dough forms a ball.
- Form the dough into a ball, cut the top of it with a sharp knife in a tic tac toe pattern, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate it while you make the butter block.
- Place the cold butter between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it into to a square that is one inch thick. Place it into the refrigerator if it gets too soft.
- Roll the dough into a 10-inch square on a floured surface. It is fine to keep dusting the dough lightly with flour to keep it from sticking.
- Place the butter block in the middle of the dough so that the corners of the dough can be folded over the butter like a square envelope and meet in the middle. You might have to stretch it a bit, so be sure to stretch it evenly throughout. At this point, I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and dust the top with flour. Roll the dough lengthwise into a 24 inch long rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, turn it so the closed fold is on the left and repeat the rolling and folding process five more times. You should wrap the dough and refrigerate it in between turns if the it gets too warm or the butter begins to leak out. You can even chill it overnight. I kept track of the number of turns by making tick marks in the cookbook.
- The dough will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 30 days in the freezer. To freeze it, roll it to about 1/2 inch thick, wrap it, and freeze it. I cut mine into quarters first before rolling it out for the freezer.
Sunny Side Up Apricot Pastries
1/2 of the puff pastry
about 2 cups of sugar
About a cup and a quarter of your favorite recipe of pastry cream
16 apricot halves, either poached or canned
1/2 C apricot jam mixed with 2 T water, heated over the stove or in a microwave
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
- With a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut the pastry into 8 circles.
- Pour some sugar on the work surface and roll the pastry with a rolling pin over the sugar to coat one side and elongate the dough. Don't roll over the ends. They should be slightly thicker than the middle.
- Place the pastry, sugar side up, on the baking sheet.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of pastry cream in the center and add the two apricot halves, cut side down.
- Bake the pastries for about 35 minutes. Immediately remove them from the pan to a wire rack.
- Brush the top of of the pastry and apricots with the melted jam.
- They can be served warm or at room temperature. They are the best the same day they are baked.
This recipe can be found in the wonderful cookbook Baking with Julia written by Dorie Greenspan.
The puff pastry recipe can also be found here, and the recipe for the pastries (including pastry cream) can be found here.