Puff Pastry Things

Puff Pastries

Wotchers!

Fab post title, no? Well, we’re at Week 7 of The Great British Bake Off and the only clues from the Radio Times for the showstopper were “three different types of perfectly puffed pastries”. So this might not bear much resemblance to what the contestants are being asked to produce, but I’m going to take the opportunity to return to an economical approach that I’ve mentioned before, namely That’ll Do Cooking.

During the weekend shop, I splurged on some butter puff pastry (on account of life being too short etc. etc) and then got back and chewed my pencil mightily pondering what to make. A slew of recipes went through my mind, including the number one favourite Curry Puff, the ubiquitous Singaporean snack, which evokes fond memories of my time there.

However, I decided to save Curry Puffs for another time since a) they have an unusual pastry which I wanted to show you, and b) my disappointment about the lack of British baking in this (and last) season’s Bake Off meant that I decided to keep whatever recipe I did to these shores.

The only glitch was – there’s not many traditional recipes that use puff pastry, that aren’t either already in my book (she plugged, shamelessly), or that involved going out on another shopping trip, so I decided to go spelunking in the cupboards/fridge and see whether I could find anything suitable to use.

What I found was half a jar of mincemeat, some cream cheese and some poached pears. So I decided “That’ll Do” and therefore these are what I’ve used in three different ways to create this week’s GBBO-Themed blog post.

They might not be as glamorous as those of the Bake Off contestants tonight, but simple? Yes. Delicious? Definitely. Economical? Absolutely.

That’ll do.

Preparation

  • Mincemeat. Didn’t need to do much to this at all. It was a little on the dry side, but I reasoned that the moisture from the pears would sort that out, and anyways, too much moisture would ruin the pastry.
  • Cream Cheese: I added 2tbs icing sugar and some grated fresh ginger to pep up the flavours. Other additions that would work well are zest/juice of a lemon, candied ginger or even crumbled blue cheese and walnuts for a fab sweet/savoury mix.
  • Poached Pears: Since they were already poached, not much to do to them, apart from drain from the syrup. To prepare some from raw, peel, halve and core, then simmer gently in a mixture of 1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar until cooked but firm.

Stuffed Pear in Lattice Pastry

If you’re lucky enough to have a lattice roller, then this is a doddle. Even so, cutting the lattice ‘freehand’ isn’t difficult.

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Roll the pastry out thinly.
  • Stuff a pear half with the filling of your choice. I used the ginger cream cheese.
  • Lay the pear half onto the pastry, with the filling contained underneath.
  • Cut around the pear leaving a 2cm border of pastry.
  • Moisten the pastry border with water.
  • Cut a lattice with your roller, or by hand.
  • Ease the lattice apart – you don’t want to stretch the pastry, but have it just wide enough to be able to see the pear through the holes.
  • Drape the lattice over your pear and press the edges into the moistened pastry border.
  • Cut two leaves from the pastry offcuts and attach to the top of the pear.
  • If possible, lay the finished pears in greased, shallow Yorkshire Pudding tins, with the leaves resting on the edge. This will make them stand up nicely when baked.
  • Brush the pastry with egg-yolk whisked with a little water to glaze.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Stuffed Pear in wrapped pastry

Possibly a little trickier to handle than the lattice pastry, but requiring no special skill or equipment.

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Roll the pastry out thinly.
  • Cut 1.5cm strips of pastry. You will need 4-5 for each pear, depending on size.
  • Sandwich two halves of pear with the filling of your choice. I opted for the slightly firmer mincemeat filling here, as it worked well in holding the pear halves together.
  • Starting at the top, wrap the strips of pastry around the pear, making sure they overlap by about half.
  • Cover any gap at the top with either some pastry leaves or use some mini cutters to make shapes.
  • Place on a lined baking sheet or, if they will fit, greased cupcake/muffin tins – the sides of the tins will help keep the pears upright as they bake.
  • Brush the pastry with egg-yolk whisked with a little water to glaze.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Pear Tart

This looks very intricate, but really it’s just a re-hash of some Valentine’s Pastries I did last year. This time I’ve cut larger squares to make room for the filling, and baked them in greased, shallow Yorkshire Pudding tins so that the edges curl up.

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Roll the pastry out thinly.
  • Cut into 10-12cm squares and then cut the corners as indicated in the diagram.

Pastry Cuts

  • Transfer the prepared squares into the tins – so much easier than when they are filled.
  • Thin the pastry a little by pressing it with your thumb, just over the base of the tin – this helps the sides to puff up and over the filling.
  • Spread a layer of mincemeat on the bottom, and top with a pear half stuffed with the ginger cream cheese filling.
  • Fold the four corners inward and press onto the top of the pear.
  • Using mini cutters, cut a small shape to stick on top to cover the ends of the corners. Alternatively, make the pastry scraps into leaves.
  • Brush the pastry with egg-yolk whisked with a little water to glaze.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

7 Comments on “Puff Pastry Things”

  1. NikkiM says:

    Wow! They look amazing!

  2. carrietxxxxx says:

    Yay! Your book’s out ! (you kept that quiet (until today that is!) Lol, at The Daily Mail calling you the maverick of GBBO. Lovely pastries ,Mary -Anne ,they look so lovely & British -full of Autumns bounty.Wonder what they’ll come up with tonight on GBBO.

  3. Pauline says:

    They look utterly stunningnandnyet read relatively straightforward. The proof will be in the wrapping!

  4. annie says:

    I like your work of art…very creative:)

  5. […] feuille and her beautiful fruit baskets, if you fancy having a go, check out previous contestant Mary Ann’s  blog where she has great diagrams. Beca made some beautifully filled vol au vants, squares and mille […]

  6. Seonaid says:

    Ooh these are so pretty! I have some puff pastry in the freezer I need to use up. I was going to make a simple strudel but maybe I’ll try something more adventurous…


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