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Pastry for Pleasure

Two nine-inch chocolate rounds. Two dozen biscotti. Two sticks of butter. Two eggs. Two cups of sugar. Two crying babies. Two more nibbles of cookie and I’m there.

But what about pastry?

Pastry for pastry’s sake? Yes, birthday cakes and birthday biscotti, but pastry? For kicks?

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for so long.

As I gather the ingredients and set up the processor, I have doubts. Can this happen? Can we go from start to finish here?

Asher is lying on his back, cooing at his rattle, while Sophie reads quietly in the parlor.


I found myself holding my breath as I cut the  butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Dare to proceed? Once the butter’s cut, it’s a done deal. There’s no turning back.

Pulse, pulse, pulse. Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two. 

I check on the kids.

They’re fine. Wow.

Back to work.

Pulse, pulse, pulse. Thirty-one pulses and we’re in a ball. I don’t deserve this!

Out onto the floured surface and we’re pressing and rolling and pressing and rolling. Gently but swiftly.

The cut apples simmered in their own juices. A dash of cinnamon  and they’re perfection.

The entire process was just that–a process, but it was well worth it.

The house erupted after I set the dough in the fridge to rest. But I could handle it. The dough was safe. That’s what mattered.

In a few hours, I had the joy of tearing off the corner of my very own apple turnover. The steam ran out and I smiled. I tore the corner piece into smaller bits and savored each one. Oh, the pleasures of pastry.

Nick Malgieri, the king of pastry, has a fantastic quick puff pastry recipe in his book How to Bake. I highly recommend the recipe along-with his recipes for pan breads and pie crust. If you want to make turnovers, use about 2/3rds of this dough, along-with a filling consisting of 4 large cooking apples, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat an egg with a pinch of salt and brush the perimeter of a 6-inch square. Fill one half of the square, fold it, pinch it, and brush with the egg mixture. Slash a 1-inch vent hole in the top and bake at 350 for about 20 or 25 minutes.

Nick Malgieri’s Quickest Puff Pastry

10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter                                   1/2 cup cold tap water                                          1 teaspoon salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Cut 2 sticks of butter into 1/2- to 1/4-inch pieces and refrigerate.

2. In a small bowl, stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Set aside.

3. Coarsely dice the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Place the flour in a food processor. Add the 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse until the butter is absorbed–about ten 1-second pulses.

4. Add the chilled butter and pulse once or twice to distribute. Add the water and salt mixture and pulse until the dough forms a rough ball. (This took me 31 pulses.)

5. Turn the dough out onto a flour work surface. Shape the dough into a rough rectangle and place between 2pieces of plastic wrap. Press the dough with a rolling pin to flatten, then roll back and forth to make a 12 x 18-inch rectangle.

6. Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap and turn the dough out onto the floured work surface. Peel away the second piece of wrap. Fold the two into thirds to make a 4 x 18-inch rectangle, then roll the dough up from one of the 4-inch ends.

7. Press the dough out into a 6 -inch square.

8. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.

Oh yes.

Oh and here are some photos of a retro bridal shower Maddy Lu baked for.

We had a grand time.


One response »

  1. Howdy! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up . I will likely be coming again to your blog for more soon.


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