Time, this week, for some festive baking!
If the mincemeat popcorn wasn’t enough to get you in the mood, these delightful pastry angels are sure to have you decking the halls with boughs of wossname and tra-la-la-la-laaa-ing about. Not least because with these, you’ll have oodles of time for decking and tra-la-la-ing because they have maximum impact with minimal effort and fuss.
All they require is a sheet of puff pastry and a little jam (or filling of your choice). If you’re feeling especially flamboyant, you can gild the lily as it were with some royal icing, but they’re equally delicious unadorned and minimalistic.
You can whip them up for breakfast or even offer them as a lighter, vegetarian alternative to mince pies but still with that festive feel. Or swap the jam for my vegetarian/vegan mincemeat and be as jolly as can be!
There’s real joy in these pastries, as much the speed with which they can be assembled as with the simplicity of flavours and contrasts in textures.
Puff Pastry Angels
For 6-8 angels
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry – treat yourself with a butter version
100g apricot jam
egg-white for glazing
royal icing (optional)
- Unroll your puff pastry onto a chopping board and pop it into the freezer for ten minutes to firm up.
- Remove it from the freezer and cut into squares. Depending on the size of your sheet and the size of your squares, you might get as many as eight squares from the one sheet.
- Heat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
- For each square, follow the method displayed in the images below. Text instructions also below.
- Make diagonal cuts in the pastry from the corners halfway towards the middle.
- With a pastry brush, dab a little water in the middle and then spoon/pipe a circle of jam.
- Take the top right corner of the pastry and fold it down and into the middle. Make sure it’s firmly pressed, to keep it from coming free during baking.
- Repeat for the left side, thus making the hood/face of the angel.
- Take the bottom right corner of the pastry and fold it up and towards the middle. Press firmly.
- Repeat with the left corner, to make the angels arms.
- Cut a ‘book’ from the pastry trimmings and dab the underside with water, then press firmly over the joins.
- Arrange the finished angels on a baking sheet covered with parchment.
- Brush the surfaces of the pastry with egg-white to glaze. Avoid getting the egg-white on the cut surfaces, as this will prevent them fanning out during baking.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the baking sheet around after 12 minutes, to help with even colouring. During baking, the layers of pastry will puff up and add a very real sense of feathered wings and billowy robes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- When cold, ice with royal icing if liked, picking out the details of face, book, wings and robe.