SHF#5-Puff Pastry

by Jeanne

Shf5_feb As usual my confusion lead me to get so focused on the task at hand that I didn’t start out making chocolate croissants. Although those were wonderfully simple and tasty all by themselves. 

First the confusion was interwoven with trying to solve a time problem.  During college, in an attempt to woo a man I made my own scratch puff pastry which were then fashioned into chocolate croissants.  The croissants were flaky.  The man turned out to be a ‘puffster’.  Fast forward today and I didn’t have the inclination nor two days to make my own croissants so I started looking for shortcuts. 

Along the way baking.911 provided me with a basic understanding of the 7 main types of pastry.  Last summer during the Olympics I had an obsession with conquering phyllo–so what was the difference between phyllo and puff pastry? Turns out the main distinction is that puff pastry is rolled in butter thus the flakiest base or wrap going.  After baking phyllo looks like puff pastry but is only flour and water which to me is even more of a culinary baking wonder.

Puffpeper One of the shortcuts I found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, Pepperidge Farm puff pastry.  I know. I know.  It’s not made with butter but with (gasp) vegetable oil.  But my word this is delightfully easy and tasty.  I thought, "oh I have some eggs, cheese and great bacon from Fatted Calf and yes even some heavy cream I wonder how a puff pastry crust would turn out as a base for a quiche."   

Quiche Lorraine, so named for the region next door to the Alsace in northeastern France is traditionally served on May Day along with a roasted pig.  Invented in the 16th century in the the then-capital of Lorraine, Nancy.  The name derives from the German Kuchen or cake.

Funny I thought it was named after my Mom, who is named Lorraine.  This was her quiche recipe that I was following.  A whole region is baking my mom’s quiche.  I’ve taken liberties with the recipe using heavy cream instead of milk and of course puff pastry for the crust and the use of a Basque spice.  I think Mom would approve.

Quiche is a great dish to have in your kitchen apron pocket.  It’s simple elegance.  Brunch guests will be impressed.  Soon you’ll be doing variations of your own with whatever’s at the market or in your fridge–mushrooms, green chilis, olives, shrimp, spinach.  And yes, real men do eat quiche.  My Dad never turns away from Mom’s quiche although it has to be at breakfast.

So after making the quiche I realized I didn’t use sugar for this event.  I decided to wing croissants chopping up chocolate into rough pieces, plopping the bits at one end of a long 4" rectangle of puff pastry and rolling and twisting.  Voila mini-croissants.  I was on a roll I then made a half dozen chocolate with orange zest turnovers.  I began to imagine making savory and sweet turnovers. A new found shortcut to good tasting food–now that’s baking magic.

Quiche_2005 Uptown Quiche Mom

3 large eggs

1 pint heavy cream

Pinch of salt (not a lot as the cheese and bacon contain salt

1 tsp Pimet d’Espelette (Tabasco will work too; use to your tolerance)

1/2 package puff pastry

1 small onion

6 oz. Swiss cheese, grated

6 oz. crisp bacon cooked in strips then crumbled into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Let puff pastry sit on counter for 30 minutes. 

Place the first 4 ingredients in to a mixing bowl. Blend until well combined.

Using the 1/2 package of puff pastry roll it out to fit a tart or pie pan.  It’ll be funky shaped but conform it much like you would a pie crust.  Arrange the bacon in the bottom of the puff pastry shell. Sprinkle the cheese over the bacon. Pour the cream mixture on top. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.