Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quick Puff Paste

I have a confession to make: I rarely cook proper meals anymore. By proper, I mean the meals that are planned days in advance. I've never been the kind of girl that puts a whole lot of effort into meals (strange to say, I know) - I'm scrappy in that I can whip up a great meal with an almost empty pantry and fridge, but give me a well-stocked kitchen and I'm a little lost for options.

That being said, there are some times when the mood strikes and I whip up something marvelous. For those times, I like having some items in my arsenal, namely: puff paste. As random as this seems, this has been my saving grace a few times. Last minute breakfast-y items, quick tarte tatins, quiche crust substitute and Chinese dim sum egg tart crusts.

Now, obviously, being the lazy and uninspired cook that I am I have no desire to make real puff at home. The cost of the butter alone would give me heartburn. Instead, I've taken on this awesome recipe below. While it might not be 100% there with decadence, it's close enough and it rises nicely - what more can you really ask for?

Nothing, frankly. Now, go eat a croissant.

Fake puff paste
**Adapted from JJ Paimblanc

16 oz all-purpose flour
8 oz butter, not quite at room temperature, but pliable
6 oz ice cold water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Break in butter. Mix until the texture resembles small hazelnuts. Add all the water at once and mix rapidly with your fingers, until shaggy. Dump contents onto a floured work surface. Using a pastry cutter, fold the shaggy mess on top of itself, until comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until needed, or freeze for up to 6 months.