So I managed to convince the generous guy at my local bakery to give me a huge batch of puff pastry. On one Saturday morning, I went to this little bakery at 8 am and patiently told him my story of why I need the layered dough that he makes for ‘khaari biscuits‘ and promised him a sample of whatever I made out of it. Although he was utterly unconvinced that I could make anything other than biscuit or puff pattice out of it, he let me come in to the back of the shop where the guys were actually kneading, rolling, cutting, baking the dough. The aroma of fresh bread baking and the sight of soft pillowy dough being rolled into layers and layers was enough to make me swoon. Err.. that was a bit OTT, but I was more than thrilled for sure. So dear old Mohsinmiya of anjuman bakery gave me 3 kilos of rough puff pastry made out of maida and vanaspati. I hate using vanaspati in foods, but where good pastry is concerned, we still face the beggars are not choosers phenomenon in India. So, armed with loads of delicate pastry I got back home with a smile and got to work on dividing the said pastry into smaller batches and freezing it wrapped cling film. It kept surprisingly well for a good month and a half.
That very evening I made a mushroom, chicken, caramelized onions tart which turned out to be something like a giant puff pastry bed with a tiny sprinkling of the filling. I realized that this pastry needs to be rolled out much thinner and I need to use quite a small amount of it and it will still puff up. A couple of days later I made some easy chocolate croissants. Inspired by Nigella Lawson, I rolled out the pastry to the thickness of a regular paratha and then cut it into squares of about 5 inch by 5 inch. I further cut those squares into triangles. Then, I grabbed a bar of good dark belgian chocolate and chopped it into tiny 1 cm pieces, placed each piece of chocolate at the wide end of the triangles and then rolled the pastry towards the pointy end of the triangle, bringing the two ends together to give it a crab like shape. I baked these little croissants at 200 degrees celcius in a foil lined baking tray for 15 mins. The result was a flaky croissant with an oozy chocolate centre. Perfect with coffee!
Spinach and Cheese Rolls: (picture above)
Two handfuls of spinach, blanched and chopped
Half cup grated processed cheese
One fourth of a cup, full cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the above. Roll out some puff pastry to make a 12 inch by 6 inch rectangle (approximate measures, you can change these to suit your requirement). On one wider end of the pastry, line up the spinach filling keeping 1 inch space from the edge. Roll this into a log and you will see the filling spread out in the turns of the roll. Seal the two open ends of the log by pressing them firmly together. Keep a tray lined with foil ready and an oven preheated at 200 degrees celcius. Now cut the pastry log into small round slices or circles as if taking a cross section. 🙂 Place these circles flat down on the tray and bake. This is a beautiful snack for tea time. I have also served this as an appetizer at a dinner party.