Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Apple Pie Bites and Spinach Feta Puffs

In baking, a puff pastry is a light, flaky, leavened pastry containing several layers of fat which is in solid state at 20 °C (68 °F). In raw form, puff pastry is dough which is spread with solid fat and repeatedly folded and rolled out (never mashed, as this will destroy layering) and used to produce the aforementioned pastries. The gaps that form between the layers are a result of the puff pastry rising as the water evaporates into steam during the baking process. 
An interesting fact about puff pastry:
The number of layers in puff pastry is calculated with the equation:
l=(f + 1) ⁿ
where l is the number of finished layers, f the number of folds, and n the number of times the dough has been folded.
Example: twice-folding (i.e. in three) for four times gives (2 + 1)⁴ = 81 layers. Chef Julia Child recommends 73 layers for regular pâte feuilletée and 730 layers for pâte feuilletée fine (in Volume II of her Mastering the Art of French Cooking textbook).

Commercially made puff pastry is easily available in grocery stores. It is generally kept frozen and thawed before use.
I am using a ready made puff pastry sheet for my recipe here but sharing the process for all those who want to do it themselves.

 Serve:              4
Preparation time:               20  minutes

For Apple Pie Bites:

Puff pastry sheets:                2 sheets (3 inches X 3  inches)
Granny smith apple:              4 thin slices
Butter:                                 cut is very small cubes (frozen and unsalted)
Cinnamon powder
Granulated white sugar

For Spinach Feta Puffs

Puff pastry sheets:                4 sheets (3 inches X 3  inches)
Spinach:                              50 grams (boiled and finely chopped)
Feta Cheese:                       20 grams (crumbled)
Green Onion:                        2 long stems                   
Garlic:                                 1 clove
Black pepper powder
Salt to taste

For Apple Pie Bites:
1) Cut the square sheet diagonally to make two triangles from each sheet.
2) Place the butter and apple slice on base of the triangle.
3) Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon powder over it.
4) Flip the longer slide over the apple slice to cover it and make a parcel like shape. (Refer the picture)
5) Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on the top also.
6) Repeat the process for rest of the apple bites
7) Grill it at 200 degrees preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.

For Spinach Feta Puffs
1) Heat some oil in a pan.  Add some garlic and green onion to it. Saute for few minutes
2) Add some spinach and dry it well. Turn off the flame. Add crumbled feta cheese. Season it with black pepper and salt.
3) Make slits from both the sides (refer to the picture)
4) Keep the filling in between and fold the slits alternatively from both the side.
5) Repeat the process for rest of puffs.
6) Grill it at 200 degrees preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe for making easy puff pastry sheets:
Plain Flour:           250 grams
Salt:                     1 tsp
Butter:                  250 grams (at room temperature, not too soft)
Cold water:           150 ml

1) Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks and add them to the flour. Rub them in loosely, you need to see bits of butter.
2) Make a well in the bowl and pour in about 2/3 of cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough, add extra water if required. Cover it with cling film and rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
3) Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 X 50 cm. keep the edge smooth and even. 
4) Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before.
5) Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat step 3 and 4. Chill it again for at-least 20 minutes before rolling it for use.
6) You can also refrigerate it in a zip lock pouch for future use.

 A video link to the recipe... Puff Pastry

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