2.01.2011

Thoughts on Puff Pastry


There was a little part of me that was dreading today's class on puff pastry. It seems anytime anyone mentioned the puff pastry class, eyes would roll and maybe a sigh would follow, not to mention that up until this point, puff pastry sounded labor intensive (it is), totally fussy (yep), high maintenance and just a plain old pain in the neck (totally a pain in the neck).


What those same people didn't mention, however, is the fact that homemade puff pastry is deliriously delicious.  With rich flaky layers that almost melt in your mouth, leaving behind only wet slicks of butter on your fingers.  I also found the whole process of making puff pastry to be sort of like learning the secret behind a magic trick.  Starting with flour, salt, water and a giant mess of butter, you handle the ingredients very delicately and folding them just a certain way and then, like magic, it all miraculously comes together and puffs up under the heat of the oven.


Once my puff pastry was made, I was charged with making it into an onion tart and I was psyched with the way it came out.  I had caramelized four giant onions ever so slowly for what seemed like eternity (or about an hour and a half) and that really brought such a sweet balance of flavor to the appetizer.  Topped of with a healthy pinch of fresh grated Grueyere and these are something I would be happy to pass at a cocktail party.  

You know what puff pastry? You're not so bad.

16 comments:

Shannon said...

I want to pop one of those in my mouth right now!

And I totally agree, puff pastry is so intimidating... if I see a recipe calling for it, I usually skip right by. But it does taste soooo good.

Megan said...

I love puff pastry! Especially homemade. I tackled it once and haven't made it at home since, but I think about doing it often. I made vol-au-vents and had a vol-au-vent filling party with friends... we made savory and sweet ones. So much fun. Your pictures are convincing me that I really need to do that again!

Elizabeth said...

Looks beautiful and delicious. I have mixed feelings about puff pastry. I feel like it's hard to find good versions. Btw, you and I should totally go to Cutty's sometime. I saw your post from last year and I just tried it out for the first time.

Meesh said...

ha! way to be positive. love it.

Jen said...

YUM! Honestly you could put caramelized onions on cardboard and I'd probably love it.

Carolyn said...

Those are gorgeous, truly gorgeous. I am watching your time in culinary school with interest, you are learning so much and hopefully having some fun doing it. i am not sure I would want to put in all that work but I bet it truly is deliriously delicious!

Daisy said...

these are making my mouth water. can i have one for breakfast?!

Boston Food Diary said...

Mmmm LOVE Puff Pastry! Your onion tarts look incredible!

In and Around Town said...

Those look delicious and TOO pretty for an average cocktail party!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

These look incredible. I use puff pastry a lot but have never made it myself. How long does it take?!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

I've seen a lot of peers wax poetic about homemade puff pastry but I have yet to give it a go; preferring the ease of use of purchasing a frozen product. But I've got to give it a go it seems!

Tarts look amazing. I just tried caramelized onions in the crockpot; loved how easy they were. Onions, butter, overnight...voila! Now I have a whole jar of them to use for soup and thinking yes, this tart!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Emily - I made a "Semi-puff" which is a quicker way and takes about 2 - 3 hours to make but making it the long, traditional way can take all day. That being said, a lot of it wasn't hands-on time, it was chilling time so it isn't super labor intensive, just a lot of timing, rolling and chilling.

Barbara - making caramelized onions in a crock pot? That's just brilliant! I like to freeze caramelized onions in ice cube trays so that I can just pop out as much as I need when I want to use them.

Kristen said...

Looks amazing! Puff pastry is one of those things I would rather just get when I'm out. It's so delicious that I wouldn't want to risk messing it up!

Justin said...

So cool! Puff pastry is one of those things I really never saw myself ever making. But those tarts look so delicious! Maybe it might be worth the trouble one of these snow days.

Mom said...

Kate! These look delicious - perfect! Congratulations on your success!

Alicia said...

I love puff pastry. When its done well its soooo delicious. Your tarts look beautiful!!

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