Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mille - Feuille

Remember that funny drunk, Dionysus? The one who later moved to Rome with that new girl, Sabina, and changed his name to Bacchus in order to avoid paying his godly taxes? The one who had all those crazy groupies following him around and who later became ardent feminists and founded the first AA circles? Well this story is not about that. It's also not about the frog and the ox. Neither is it about the raven and the fox. Nor about the ant and the grasshopper. Rather, it is similar to the story about the bear and the gardener, except in every single detail.
One day, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon were having a walk through late Middle-Ages Paris. They had booked their ticket (literally) quite some time in advance in the early 20th century through a time travel agency, and were enjoying a romantic getaway weekend. As they were walking over a rickety construction that would come to be known as Pont Puant (it was mercifully destroyed forever in a purging fire), they stopped in front of a window--windows were namely still rare at the time. The shop had a number of leaves on display. It was one of those quirky and nostalgic ancient shops that sell everything you will never need but have always wanted. This one particularly was specialised in leaves. It sold all kinds of leaves, from maple tree leaves to chestnut tree leaves passing by acorn tree leaves. They also came in different colours. Needless to say, the shop made the most money in autumn. As it so happened, Celestial Dragon was eating a cream. Ice was not portable yet, so he had to do with just the cream. Unfortunately, cream is inherently runny, and before Celestial Dragon's avid tongue, it ran quite quickly indeed. Fortunately, cream is also inherently clumsy: it didn't run very far. Instead, it fell onto the leaves (they had entered the shop in pursuit of the cream). And that gave Celestial Dragon a Silly Idea: "how about we stash a thousand leaves one on top of the other and separate them with delicious cream?" "Don't be daft," said Divine Cherry, "leaves taste bitter. Instead, I will use caramel-like pastry sheets that look just like leaves."
And so it was that the Mille Feuille was born. That old quirky shop later moved away from the Pont Puant into the Chaussée des Saveurs and became one of the most renowned pâtisseries in Paris. After the original owner had mysteriously vanished under what the newspapers termed as a "stampede of cream", a proper pâtissier took over the quaint shop and made lots of money. The royalties, however, to this day still go to Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry.

Blog-checking lines: Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

Mille Feuille:
Puff Pastry - from a recipe by C. Felder
-550g flour
-26,5 cl water
-85g molten butter
-10g salt
-335g single-piece butter
Italian Style Crème Chantilly
-400g crème pâtissière, recipe here
-800g fresh cream
-small zest of candied orange

Quickly mix, in a bowl, the flour, the water, the 85g of molten butter and the salt. Cover the dough with clig film and place it to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
With a rolling pin squash the butter until about 1cm thin. Give it a regular square shape. Put it back in the fridge.
Roll out the dough in a 1cm thin square shape and place the butter in its centre like so:

Fold the four corners of the dough over the butter. Then, with a rolling pin, roll out the dough in one direction only so as to get a 8-9mm thin rectangle. Then, fold that rectangle in three by overlapping the dough (as shown in picture).

1.Roll out the dough in a 8-9mm thin rectnagle
2.Fold the rectangle in three
3. The dough is folded as a "book".

 Roll the dough out vertically and holding it as shown in picture 3. Fold in three again and put it to rest in the fridge for 30mins. Repeat this sequence (fold-rest) another three times. Then leave the dough to rest in the fridge for 2 hours. Afterwards, it'll be ready for use.

Roll out the dough in a rectangle 25 x 75cm in size, then cut it in three 25 x 25cm squares. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. On it, put one of the dough squares. Sprinkle it with caster sugar and lightly pierce some holes in it using a fork. Place another layer of baking paper on the dough, then place a grill on top of it so as to prevent the dough form rising too much during baking.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 12 mins (one dough square at the time). Let them cool, then apply the crème chantilly.

Italian style Crème Chantilly
Prepare the crème pâtissière the day before. Make it dense and put it to rest in the fridge overnight. Make sure it is as smooth as possible, dense, and without any residue clumps in it (should you have some, try to get rid of them with an electric whip). The day after, whip up the cream rather densely (but not too much) and incorporate it into the crème pâtissière.

Using a piping bag, cover the first of your dough squares with little mounds of crème chantilly. Cover the entire surface of the square. Place small pieces of candied orange between the mounds. Place the second dough square on the first and repeat the action. Place the last square on top and sprinkle it with icing sugar. Voilà.

Pasta sfoglia  - da una ricetta di C. Felder
- 500 g farina
- 26,5 cl acqua
- 85 g burro fuso
- 10 g sale
- 335g burro in un unico pezzo
Crema Chantilly all'italiana
- 400 g di crema pasticcera, la ricetta la trovate qui
- 800 g panna fresca
- scorzetta di arancia candita

Mescolate velocemente in una ciotola la farina insieme all'acqua, gli 85 g di burro fuso e il sale.  Mettete l'impasto a riposare in frigo, coperto da pellicola per 2 ore almeno.
Con un mattarello schiacciate il burro a un centimetro di spessore, dando una forma quadrata regolare. Riponetelo in frigo.  Stendete l'impasto in un quadrato di un centimetro di spessore e appoggiate il burro in centro, così:

Piegate i quattro angoli di impasto sopra il burro e poi con il mattarello, stendete l'impasto in una direzione sola in modo da ottenere un lungo rettangolo, spesso 8-9mm. Poi piegate il rettangolo in tre, ripiegando la pasta su se stessa come in foto:
1.Stendere l'impasto in un rettangolo spesso 8-9mm.
2. Piegare in tre la pasta
3. La pasta è piegata a "libro"

Stendete di nuovo la pasta in senso verticale tenendo la pasta come in foto 3.  Piegate in tre di nuovo e mettete la pasta in frigo per 30 minuti. Ripetete la sequenza pieghe-riposo in frigorifero altre 3 volte. Lasciate riposare in frigo per 2 ore e poi l'impasto è pronto per essere usato.

Stendete l'impasto in un rettangolo di 25 x75 cm e poi tagliatelo in 3 quadrati di 25x25cm.  Poggiate un quadrato di impasto su una teglia coperta da carta forno, cospargete il quadrato di zucchero semolato e bucherellatelo con i rebbi di una forchetta. Poggiate un altro foglio di carta forno sulla superficie dell'impasto e appoggiate una griglia sopra, in modo che non gonfi troppo durante la cottura.

Cuocete in forno caldo a 220°C per 12 minuti circa un quadrato alla volta. Fate raffreddare i tre quadrati e farciteli con la crema Chantilly.

Crema Chantilly all'italiana:
Preparate la crema pasticcera alla vigilia, fatela piuttosto densa e mettetela a riposare in frigo la notte. La crema dev'essere molto liscia, densa e senza grumi (eventualmente rompeteli con una frusta elettrica). L'indomani, montate la panna piuttosto densa e incorporatela alla crema.

Prendete il primo quadrato e formate ciuffetti di crema aiutandovi con la sac a poche in modo da ricoprire l'intera superficie.  Ponete tra i ciuffetti dei pezzetti di arancia confit. Poggiate sulla crema il secondo quadrato e ripetete l'operazione. Concludete poggiando l'ultimo quadrato e spolverizzando con zucchero a velo.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Phillo triangles

What will now follow has happened a long time ago. Most living things were still merely a clump of primeval soup, although some had already started adding letters as well. The Universe itself was, in cosmic terms of course, only a teenager: it had recently had its 17 millionth birthday. And the story that's about to unfold happened at just that birthday party.
Naturally, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon had been invited to the party. It was a magnificent event. Had you been there, you would have been able to see innumerable gods and goddesses, all dressed in the then-current fashion: they all wore silly freckled either white or red paper party hats and blue Hawaiian skirts. Some of the more osé divinities even sported underwear, while the kinky ones among them--for you must not be fooled: even gods are kinky--wore a green ribbon tied to a lovely knot on their left arm. But the Universe did not care, not really. "After all," it thought, "they'll be all dead soon, relatively speaking. In the End, I will remain alone anyway. So let those funny gods do whatever they want and have some fun as long as they can. Eternity doesn't last forever, now does it? I'm on a horse." At that precise moment, Divine Cherry walked up to the Universe to present her heartfelt wishes. Strangely enough, she did not carry a cake with her. Indeed, flour had not yet decided whether it wanted to exist or not, so there was no way to bake a proper cake. Instead, she brought Phillo pastry triangles. The Universe was about to blow out its candles when Divine Cherry showed them to him. As it is often the way with things, one followed another. Just when the Universe had exhaled the first blow of cosmic gas, its eyes wandered off to Divine Cherry's offering. Of course, its breath followed its gaze, and soon all the Phillo pastry triangles were scattered all around the Universe (do not bother with the paradox of external vs internal existence--just assume that it works).
And so it was that when the Universe had its 17 millionth birthday party, Divine Cherry's Phillo pastry triangles were scattered all over the universe. In order to console her, and also so that they would be more easily discernible, Celestial Dragon alighted every poppy seed on every triangle. The result were the stars you see in the night-sky. Now you know; the great secret has finally been revealed. Stars are not humongously huge gaseous masses, but in fact the poppy seeds on Divine Cherry Phillo pastry triangles that Celestial Dragon alighted out of love and compassion.

Phillo triangles (for 72 triangles)
- 3 packs of ready made phillo pastry
Spinach filling: same filling as the greek pie, but with spinach instead of spring greens.
Cheese filling:
- 1 egg
- 100g robiola (or soft cheese)
- half a glass of milk, but you'll probably need less
- 200 g feta
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 50 g butter to brush the pastry

Prepare the two fillings. Follow the instruction and quantities indicated here for the spinach filling.
Prepare the cheese filling: mix together the egg,  robiola, crumbled feta, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Add a bit of milk to make the filling spreadable.
Cut 6cm wide stripes from every phyllo  sheet.  Take one stripe at the time, and keep the rest under a cloth in order not to let them dry. Brush the strip with melted butter. Put one spoon of filling on one bottom corner and fold it over the other corner in order to form a triangle, then fold the triangle over and over itself till the end of the strip. Do the same with the rest of the stripes, alternating the fillings.
Put the trinagles over a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 min or until golden brown.

Triangoli di pasta fillo
- 3 confezioni di pasta fillo
Ripieno di spinaci: ingredienti indicati nella ricetta delle torta greca, sostituendo alle biete gli spinaci.
Ripieno ai formaggi:
- 1 uovo
- 100 g robiola
- mezzo bicchiere di latte, ma forse ve ne servirà meno
- 200 g feta
- una grattatina di noce moscata
- sale e pepe
- 50 g burro, per spennellare

Preparare i ripieni. Per gli spinaci, seguire le istruzioni qui.
Preparare il ripieno di formaggi. Mescolare l'uovo con la robiola, la feta sbriciolata, la noce moscata, sale e pepe. Aggiungere un po' di latte per rendere il composto spalmabile.
Tagliare da ogni foglio di fillo strisce larghe 6cm. Prendere una striscia alla volta e tenere le altre al riparo sotto un canovaccio pulito in modo che non si secchino. Spennellare la striscia con burro fuso, porre un cucchiaio scarso di ripieno su un angolo delle pasta, ripiegare l'altro angolo sopra il ripieno a formare un triangolo. Ripiegare il triangolo su se stesso più volte fino a terminare la pasta. Ripetere questa operazione con le altre strisce di pasta, alternando i ripieni. Porre i triangoli su una teglia ricoperta con carta forno. Cuocere in forno caldo a 200°C per circa 30 minui o fino a che i triangoli saranno dorati.

And Spread the Mess

Friday, 5 October 2012

Empanada Gallega

Ah the sun. Ah the trees. Ah the birds. Oh the birds. Ah the air. Ah the sky. Some more birds. These were the kind of thoughts that were sloshing around Celestial Dragon's head as he was lying on a yellow meadow in what was then known as the Year of the Sneaky Tomato. His arms were crossed around his scaly head and his tail was flicking absentmindedly to and fro. His huge nostrils inhaled the sweet scents of summer that whirled and buzzed around him. Behind him, hanging lazily from a tree, was Divine Cherry. Her red legs were dangling in what would later be known as a nonchalant manner from a branch.
Suddenly, a little girl came walking by. It wasn't really a girl, nor was it really little, but in those days things were still a bit blurry. Be that as it may, she was hopping from one flower to the next, like a bee, thus making her way to Divine Cherry's tree. She was carrying a small wicker basket under one arm. It wasn't really an arm, not was it really a wicker basket, nor indeed was it really small. In that ill-defined basket, however, was something round and good. It is still unknown how she had managed to do it, but the little girl who wasn't really little nor a girl had succeeded in capturing a small star (which wasn't really small nor really a star). She had put it in the basket and was carrying it to her grandmother, who was indeed her grandmother. At the mere smell of the star, Celestial Dragon jumped out of his reverie and Divine Cherry jumped down from her tree. Gracefully, though. They both gathered around the not-little girl and started talking to her. At the end of that fruitful discussion (its content has never been revealed, but it is being assumed that it ran along the general lines of what-is-it-you-haver-there-girl-oh-my-!-what-a-big-nose-mister), it was decided that the grandmother--who was really a grandmother--could wait some more since she had been waiting so long already, and that the not-star would taste much better if baked in the oven and filled with a delicious, well, filling.
And so it was that later that day in the Year of the Sneaky Tomato, a dragon, a cherry, and a little girl that was not little nor a girl sat down for dinner and enjoyed the first ever Empanada Gallega. The recipe down below is a faithful reproduction of what Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon think their first Empanada must have tasted like. After all, the Year of the Sneaky Tomato has expired a looong time ago...

Blog-checking lines: Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

Empanada Gallega - recipe adapted from the September Daring Baking Challege

- 750 g bread flour
- 480 ml of lukewarm water, approximately
- 15 g fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 10 g salt
- 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg, for egg wash

- 1 hard boiled egg
- 1 yellow pepper, cut in stripes
- 200 g chopped tomatoes
- 180 g tuna
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 10 black olives

Prepare the dough. Stir the yeast with sugar in the water and let it dissolve for 10 minutes. Make a wheel in the flour and add the water yeast mixture, add the oil and salt. Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon  to combine them. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a cling film and let it rise in a warm place for 1 and half hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion. When the onion is soft, add the pepper and cook it for 10 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and finish to cook the vegetables. Let the vegetables to cool down and then add the crumbled tuna and the olives.

Assembly of the empanada. Cut the dough in two parts. With a rolling pin, spread gently one half in a greased and floured tray. Pour the cold filling in the dough case, and finish it with the crumbled hard-boiled egg.  On a clean surface, spread gently the second half of the dough and use it to cover the empanada. Join the top and the bottom dough pincing the edges with your fingers in order to end up with a  rope-like border. Use extra dough to decorate and make a central hole in the top dough to let the steam escape during the cooking. Brush the surface with a beaten egg.
Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 45 min.

Empanada Gallega - ricetta adattata dalla sfida di settembre dei Daring Bakers

- 750 g farina forte
- 450 g acqua tiepida
- 15 g lievito di birra fresco
- 1 cucchiaino di zucchero
- 10 g di sale
- 60 ml di olio evo
- 1 uovo sbattuto, per spennellare
- 1 uovo sodo
- 1 peperone giallo tagliato a striscioline sottili
- 200g pomodori a pezzi
- 180 g tonno sottolio
- 1 grossa cipolla, tritata finemente
- una decina di olive nere
- olio, sale e pepe

Preparare l'impasto. Mescolare il lievito all'acqua insieme a un cucchiaino di zucchero e far riposare per 10minuti. Fare un buco nella farina e aggiungerci l'acqua con il lievito e l'olio, mescolare e aggiungere il sale. Trasferire su una superficie pulita e impastare per 15 minuti circa fino ad ottenere una palla liscia ed elastica. Mettere in una ciotola, coprira con pellicola e far lievitare in luogo tiepido per circa un'ora e mezza, o fino a che l'impasto avrà raddoppiato il suo volume.

Preparare il ripieno. Far appassire la cipolla in una padella con un po' d'olio evo. Quando la cipolla è trasparente, aggiungere i peperoni e cuocere per una decina di minuti.Aggiungere i pomodori e terminare la cottura. Quando le verdure si sono intiepidite aggiungere il tonno sbriciolato e le olive.

Assemblaggio. Dividere l'impasto in due parti uguali. Stendere una metà dell'impasto e metterela in una teglia precedentemente unta e infarinata. Coprire con il ripieno, completamente raffreddato. Sbriciolare sopra l'uovo sodo. Stendere anche la seconda metà dell'impasto sopra al ripieno. Unire le estremità dei due impasti con le dita, pizzicando i bordi in modo da fare una sorta di cordoncino (come in foto). Fare un buco in centro all'empanada per far fuoriuscire l'umidità durante la cottura. Spennellare la superfice con l'uovo sbattuto. Cuocere in forno caldo a 180 gradi per 45 minuti circa.

And Spread the Mess