My Confidence, Like My Puff Pastry, Has Risen

Monday, May 10, 2010

-Flakey, buttery, and delicious. Pepperidge Farms has nothing on this.-

"Oh my God, it's rising!" I called over BF and Roommate to peek through the oven window. There, with butter bubbling sides, rose my first ever homemade puff pastry that I had crafted earlier in the week at the Advanced Pastry class. As steam was released from the heated bits of butter that had been folded and folded and folded in with flour the puff pastry rose from a cold 1/8 of an inch thickness to over an inch in flaky height. Proof that I had not screwed up my first attempt at puff pastry but, surprisingly, succeeded in every way.

My confidence grew more than the puff did. I felt like a competent baker. That baking was something I might not only have potential for, but might actually even be good at, made me beam. All cupcake recipes aside this was a major milestone for me as I had always held puff pastry to be one of those quintessential recipes that separated the home baker from the professional baker. Given, I was far from a professional, but this was a step in the direction I wanted to go. I had made puff!

Oh, and the smell. Readers, store bought puff pastry does not smell like this when baking. The stuff you make yourself is richer and sweeter. The smell of cooking butter was one more aroma that interlaced the others already wafting in the perfumed apartment. Earlier, I had been reducing onions in olive oil and, yes, a bit more butter, and had tossed in some fresh thyme and minced garlic. Those were set on scored bits of rolled out puff, then topped with slices of fresh tomato that were brushed with olive oil. Some crumbled goat cheese for tang and a few bits of shaved Parmesan finished it appropriately. The scent of all this melding together in the oven was intoxicating and so heavy with butter you almost became drunk on it.

-Puff pastry about to be rolled. Getting to this point takes a lot of patience and even more butter.-

After 25 minutes at 425F I took them out of the oven and placed a chiffonade of basil on each one. Striking is the best way to describe their visual appeal, though rustic would work equally well.

They looked small and dainty, but the amount of fat and goodness in each one made them a full meal. None of us talked as we ate. We just sat in silence determined to enjoy the flavor of the cheese, and the flaky, crumbly texture of the golden puff pastry. Only the occasional smacking of lips or "Mmmm" escaped us.

And it's true, so true: homemade puff pastry can't be beat. The frozen stuff has its place; homemade is a real time sucker and requires a lot of attention, but the task itself is easy-peasy. You just have to have patience, a few pounds of butter (yes, pounds), some spare hours, and a heavy hand on your rolling pin.

I cannot wait to put together the mille feuilles next weekend.

-The perfect weekend brunch.-


  1. Congratulations! That looks DELICIOUS! Wow...I wish I could make a puff pastry...never tried though.

    But wow...that looks incredible. I'm so glad it all turned out so well. :)

  2. Dear lord, Garrett... I just licked the screen at work when the boss wasn't looking.

  3. This looks so scrumptious that you've convinced me that homemade could be worth the effort:-)

  4. And now I know what I'm doing with my summer vacation. Great job, they look so good I want to bite my laptop!

  5. That first shot is making me want to get into the kitchen to make my own puff pastry,but it's 11:15pm and I've never done it before, so instead of making myself crazy, I'll go to bed thinking about trying it tomorrow.

  6. WOW! It looks incredible. What an impressive first try.

  7. Oh my God Garrett you are THE BOMB!

  8. You did an amazing job. I had no doubt that you could do it. I think you could bake anything.

  9. I thought you already were an accomplished baker. Now you're just beyond fabulous!

  10. Nice puff! Seriously, it's gorgeous. My first attempt at pp a few months back was not nearly as're making me want to try again, though.

  11. Homemade puff pastry is definitely the best! I started myself not solong ago and I will never buy some again! And you right the smell of the butter when you open the oven...yummy!

  12. Oh. My. Gosh. I want to eat my Blackberry (from whose browser I am NOT getting a good enough look!)!! I want to try it. I have always had the same attitude as you - puff separates the real bakers from the hobbyists. And I'm good, but WOW. I thought it was so far beyond me! You've convinced me to at least look into it. Amy suggestions on a really good reipe & thorough set of directions? I need step-by-fold-by-step. I am so freakin impressed!


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