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Tag Archives: puff pastry

Cherry Tomato Tart

This is more a throw together than a recipe. The sort of thing you can whip up when you need a super quick lunch or supper dish!

Store-bought puff pastry tart base, some caramelized onion for the base, then topped with goats’ cheese, cherry tomatoes and a scattering of fresh herbs. I made mine in a rectangular flan tin, but a round one would do as well. You might have to adjust the quantities.

Ingredients

1 quantity store-bough puff pastry ( I used 2 sheets from a 3 sheet pack of Pampas Butter Puff Pastry)

1 red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Goats’ cheese – or similar crumbly soft cheese. You will crumble this into the tart, so quantities are flexible, about 100gm should be enough

15-20 cherry tomatoes, or more if you want to pack them in, on the vine

Fresh thyme leaves for scattering

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Butter a rectangular flan tin (or a round one), and fit with the puff pastry sheets which you have cut to shape.

Fry the red onion in the butter in a small frying pan over a low to medium heat, until the onion begins to soften. Add the brown sugar to caramelize the onion and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Lay the caramelized onion onto the pastry base. Crumble the goats’ cheese into the tart. Cut some of the cherry tomatoes in half and place on top of the goats’ cheese, place a few whole ones on, too for effect.  Scatter a few fresh thyme leaves over the tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is nicely browned, the cheese melted and the tomatoes softened. Nice served with a green salad.

 

 

 

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Winter Pasties Revisited

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I made these pasties in 2014, and with winter almost upon us in Sydney, I am revisiting the recipes to get some inspiration for more winter cooking.

Beef, Tomato and Pedro Ximinez Pasties

The filling was some slow cooked beef cheeks, cooked in Pedro Ximinez sherry. I added in a chopped fresh tomato and and handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. I reduced the tomatoes with the cooked beef until the mixture was thick enough to be used a pastie filling.

Recipe for the beef cheeks follows.

For a dozen pasties, you would need about 1/3 of the recipe quantity. The rest is great served with mashed potato or pasta, root vegetables or green salad.

Ingredients

Beef Filling

1.5 kg  beef cheeks
125 ml  olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml  Pedro Ximenez sherry or a port or Madeira
500 ml  red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Pastry

3 sheets bought (butter) puff pastry

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C.

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced.

Increase the oven to 190 degrees C. Take 3 puff pastry sheets, and using a plate as a template, cut out 12  20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get all your circles. Don’t worry if you don’t get 12; just get as many as you can from the pastry sheets.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Eat pasties warm or cold.


Sundried Tomato and Persian Feta Pasties

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Simply chopped sundried tomatoes and crumble some Persian soft feta. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs like coriander or thyme to taste.

The quantities are up to you – I used 6 sundried tomatoes and 3 small pieces of feta to make 2 large pasties from 1 pastry sheet.

Prepare 3 puff pastry sheets as in previous recipe.

Spoon the filling on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp to seal. These pasties may open during cooking, but as the filling isn’t liquid, they stay intact.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

These ones are best eaten cold.

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Cream Horns

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I love cream horns – an old fashioned treat, full of cream and a smattering of jam.

I wanted to recreate these retro treats, making them a little smaller than the original. I filled them with whipped cream and my homemade berry jam.

Using bought puff pastry and some cone shaped molds, it was really easy! While I agree that making your own puff pastry can be time consuming, I would encourage everyone to make their own jam. I made a quick jam in the time it took to shape and bake the horns, 20 minutes or so. That’s fast, and the beautiful mixed berry jam is so worth it!

And because I love the idea of a “cornucopia” – horn of plenty – I made a large puff pastry horn as well, filling it with berries. A pretty centre piece and you can eat the contents.

The recipe below makes 6 small horns.

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Ingredients

2 sheets of puff pastry partially thawed

Milk for brushing

Caster sugar for dusting

325 mls pure cream

1 quantity mixed berry jam (see recipe below*)

Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C fanforced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the sheets of puff pastry into 2cm wide strips. Spray the molds with non stick spray. Wind the strips of pastry around the mold, starting from the tip. Make sure there is a little overlap with each turn so that the mold is completely covered. It’s really easy to do, especially when the pastry is still cold. Try to get all the joints on the one side, but don’t worry too much, these horns are meant to look little rustic!

Place the horns join side down on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush with a little milk. Scatter the horns with a little caster sugar. This gives the horns a nice sugary crunch.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until the horns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool before gently sliding the horns from the molds.

Whip the cream until soft peak stage, but not stiff.

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Filling the horns

Spoon or pipe the cream into each horn. Carefully add a teaspoon of berry jam to the cream horn, swirling into the cream or just leaving as is.

Serve with mixed fresh berries and more jam and cream for that extra lusciousness…

*Mixed Berry Jam

Ingredients

250g mixed berries – I used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

150g sugar

Juice of a lemon

Method

Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with the sugar. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, boil on a moderate heat until setting point is reached. Mush the berries, if still whole, into a jam like consistency. Take off the stove and allow to cool.

If you want to make the Cornucopia, that’s easy too. Make a cone shape, whatever size you like, using cardboard covered with baking paper. Wind strips of Pampas puff pastry around the mold until completely covered.

Bake on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes in a 200 degree C oven. Cool before removing the mold.

Fill with fruit, flowers or anything else that signifies abundance.

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Easter Sunday Pastries

 

IMG_0754Easter Sunday 2014 and another beautiful balmy day in the Easter holiday break. Lunch in the garden again, this time lamb to mark the special day.

I barbecued a butterflied leg of lamb, served it with baby new potatoes, Bill Granger’s Asparagus, Pea and Feta Salad (again) and a green salad.

Dessert was the star today – two different pastries focusing on seasonal fruit.

Fig and Raspberry Mille Feuille

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Not really a recipe, more an assembly.

Roll out a quantity of store-bought puff pastry (I buy Careme brand as it’s a butter puff and is very light).  The amount you use is entirely dependent on how many mille feuilles you want to end up with.

Cut into long rectangles. Bake according to the directions on the packet, usually about 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Remove from the oven and cut rectangles into individual pastry lengths. Whiles still warm flatten gently if the pieces are too”puffed”. You can also split the pastry in half to make it easier to fill, and also so that each half of the pastry is not too hard to eat.

When cool, fill with whipped cream flavoured with a little vanilla paste and fresh fruit. I used figs and raspberries as both are delicious and good value at the moment in April in Sydney.IMG_0739

Bill Granger’s Pear Shortcake

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I made a strawberry version of this cake last week and it was so more-ish I had to do it again! This recipe is closer to Bill’s but I included plums as well as a good dollop of my plum and raisin jam.

Ingredients

Filling
30 g unsalted butter, softened

40 g caster sugar

2 small pears and 4 plums

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 tbsp plum jam*

Milk, to brush the pastry

1 tbsp demerara sugar

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Shortcake pastry


125 g unsalted butter

125 g castor sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

175 plain flour

50 g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

Method
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until the butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Add the chopped pears and plums and cook over low heat for 8 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat and stir through the plum jam, being careful not to break up the fruit. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together. Divide the dough in half, pat in to discs, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a round about the size of the tin, then press one round into tin. Spoon the pear and plum mixture and any juices over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge.

Top with the remaining dough round and press the edges together to seal. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes or until until golden (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Cool in tin for 20 minutes before carefully removing from the tin.

*The recipe for plum and raisin jam: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/28/autumn-jams/

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