Friday, November 13, 2009
Craving hand pies today, which of course means making pastry. I like using puff pastry for my little pies--homemade whenever time allows--but I'm not enough of a masochist to make puff pastry in the classic style very often. I mean, that can end up being a full day of labor and there is no instant edible gratification in that!
Guess I'm just not 'hard-core' enough to make that sort of time commitment, so I make what is termed a rough puff pastry. It is very similiar, light, flaky and buttery, only you can start the dough at lunch time and have it done in time to make dinner.
So I took my homemade puff pastry and made hand pies stuffed with prosciutto ham and a creamy local artisan cheese with green and black Madagascar peppercorns.
It's like a hot pocket... only edible!
Anyway, these are on the table tonight alongside a simple organic tomato soup.
Not so Humble's Rough Puff Pastry:
(Makes a dozen large hand pies)
3 cups all purpose flour
3 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg beaten
1 tablespoon water
Cut the cold butter into the smallest cubes you can manage (mine are roughly 1/2-1/4 inch cubes). Don't fret over them too much, you don't want to warm the butter with a lot of handling. This is one time where maintaining temperature is more important than uniformity or showing off your OCD chopping skills.
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and mix with a few pulses. Add one of the sticks of cubed butter and pulse several times till the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the rest of the cold butter and mix for about 20-30 seconds. Place this into a bowl and add the ice water a tablespoon at a time mixing with a spoon. Add enough water to allow the dough to form a rough crumbly mass.
On a cutting board, handling it as little as possible, shape the pastry into rectangular slab a couple of inches thick and wrap in plastic wrap. Place this in the fridge for at least an hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a little less than a quarter of an inch thick. It is hard to explain the exact method of folding, so if I am unclear in this I apologize. Working quickly so the dough remains chilled, fold the dough like you would a letter for an envelope. Then starting at the narrow end of the dough, fold/roll the dough into a compact brick. Wrap this mass and chill again for at least an hour.
Repeat this process 2-4 more times and it will be ready to roll, cut and bake.
Stuff the hand pies with whatever sweet or savory filling appeals to you. Brush with an egg wash and bake in a 400°F oven for 10-12 minutes