December 9, 2015 — Dairy

Puff Pastry Three Ways

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 8 PEOPLE
  • easy

‘…Delicious crispy, crumbly puff pastry snacks made three ways! I need to start making up new national cooking days! For me, any sweet pastry always sends me back to childhood, especially when baking with cinnamon. And these are perfect nibbles for small children to help with. Enjoy!’

'I never knew the 9th December was National Pastry Day! So I informed Dad... and this is what he conjured up!'

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Follow us on Instagram — @WhatDadCooked

What you need

1 pack of ready-made puff pastry (as a rolled sheet)

Icing sugar

Granulated sugar (not caster)

Cinnamon powder

Chopped hazelnuts

Plain or milk chocolate (nothing too intense)


Dad's Recipe Tales

Today, 9th December 2015 is National Pastry Day – and so I have made pastry. Not only have I made pastry, but I have made it three ways. Three pastries for the price of one!

Pastry is like playing with play-dough. After you’ve had a bit of fun squishing, rolling, patting, shaping – you put it in the oven and hey presto – pastry. It’s a play-dough you can eat.

Of course it is not play-dough. It’s a complex science of physics, chemistry and takes years to master. In the past, I have pushed myself to learn pastry: puff, sweet, and shortcrust. But, hey, these days they sell it ready-made. So I rarely go to the trouble of making from pastry from scratch. It allows more time to experiment with the pastry dough.

The recipe I followed for palmiers was by Michel Roux. I realised that it must be the granulated sugar and icing sugar that gives the palmiers their crunch, sweetness and glaze, so I put the other pastries through the same process. I added nuts and cinnamon for the swirls. The pain au chocolats were rolled in the same mix of sugars and then rolled around chocolate. It is very rewarding to start-off with a bit of learned methodology but then go freestyle. My ‘three ways’ idea gives a very satisfying end result without any wastage – all from one roll of pastry. This approach to baking would make a good kitchen session with children. Let them experiment and try new fillings – but don’t use real play-dough!

How Dad Cooked It

Palmiers, cinnamon and hazelnut swirls and mini pain au chocolat

This is freestyle fun – the amounts are intentionally imprecise.

Allow the pastry come to room temperature – otherwise is will split when unrolling from its packaging.

Unroll and cut into three rectangles along the length of the sheet of pastry. Work with each section separately for each of the following:

Make the palmiers. Sprinkle the work surface with icing sugar (as if it were flour for rolling normal pastry) and roll out one of the sheets of pastry – increase the length and width by a third. Dust the pastry with icing sugar and cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Start the other versions while waiting.) Dust the work surface with icing sugar and sprinkle over about two tablespoons of granulated sugar. Pat the pastry into the sugar, turnover and do the same. Take each end in turn and fold to the centre of the length of pastry, without touching. Do this one more time at each end and then fold the two sections onto each other. Roll in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Unwrap the pastry and using a very sharp knife cut thin discs. Place each disc on lightly greased baking tray with space to expand. Bake at 180C for 6 minutes and then take out the tray and turnover each palmier. Bake for another 4 – 8 minutes or until they are golden. Keep a close eye on them as they cook. Once golden they will quickly burn. (Due to the sugar.) Cool on a rack. The crisp crumbly texture is best enjoyed on the day of baking.

Make the cinnamon and hazelnut swirls. Follow the same procedure as above, adding chopped nuts and cinnamon along with the granulated sugar. Instead of folding, roll the pasty into a cylinder – roll along the length of the rectangle (I also added dots of butter before rolling the pasty into a cylinder). Bake as for palmiers but do not turn over. NB: you can see that my swirls split – this is because I did not wait long enough for the pastry to come to room temperature and the pastry cracked.

Make the mini pain au chocolat. Follow the procedure for the palmiers up to and after the first resting in the refrigerator. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise, then cut down to divide into about five or six sections. You should have squat rectangles. Cut small thin bars of chocolate and place along the bottom edge (short side) of the rectangle. Roll the pastry up over the chocolate and coat again in icing sugar. Place with the join facing down on the tray and bake as for palmiers but without turning.

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