Although it might seem I am all about sophisticated food, the truth is that I love rustic cooking. I dream of having a garden one day, growing some vegetables and surrounding myself with fruit trees. I live off soups, stews and fruit most of the time and fruit desserts and custards are my comfort desserts.
I find that making dough is a very earthy feeling. It is much about how it feels in one’s hands. Whether it is soft, sticky and cool ferment or ice cold pie dough, I love touching my ingredients. Hard to describe. Laminated doughs intimidate many people, but in reality, they are easy to make at home. It requires time, a bit of attention and a cold surface always helps. The process is very rewarding and the result, amazing.
This time, I tried Pierre Herme’s pate feuilletee inversee recipe from “Chocolate Desserts”. Inversee or inverted means that the butter block is actually on the outside and the flour dough is the lock-in, which is the reverse method of most common puff pastry recipes. This one was very easy as it only has three folds. It makes enough to make four of these tarts and still leaves you with lots of extra to freeze.
The seckel pears are from our farmer’s market, which was a surprise since I have not seen them anywhere this season. These are some sweet pears to eat raw, but this time, I poached them a bit and baked them in the puff pastry tart shell with some hazelnut frangipane. Crispy and buttery.
Pate Feuilletee Inversee
adapted from Pierre Herme’s “Chocolate Desserts”
400 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
175 grams all purpose flour
With the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add the flour and mix until combined.
Scrape the mixture into a large sheet of plastic wrap and form a square that is about 6 inches (15 cm) wide. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
185 grams water
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white vinegar
420 grams all purpose flour
115 grams butter, melted and cooled
Place the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. While the mixer is on, add the melted butter and mix until starts to combine. It will be lumpy. Mix the water, salt, vinegar together and slowly add it to the flour while the mixer is on low speed. Mix until it starts to come together. Depending on the flour, you might not need to add all the water. The dough should be the consistency of soft tart dough.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a square that is about 2 inches smaller than the butter block. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Place the chilled butter block on a well floured marble surface (best). Roll it to a rectangle that is about 12″x7″. Place the flour block on the middle half and fold the rolled butter block on top. Seal the edges well. make sure the block that is inside reaches out to all corners. Press it gently if you need to. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for another 2 hours.
To make the first turn, roll the dough on a well floured surface to about 21″x7″. The size doesn’t really matter that much as long as the dough is three times the length as the width, Give it its first book fold by folding one end of the dough to the middle, the same with the other end. Fold the dough in half at the center. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 2 more hours.
Repeat with a second letter fold and refrigerate overnight after this.
The following day, give it its last turn but this time it will be a letter fold. Roll the dough three times the longer than its width. Fold one end so it covers the middle third of the dough and fold the other end over it. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Refrigerate the dough for another 30 minutes before cutting. You can also freeze the rolled puff pastry at this point. Just cut it into rectangles that will fit into your sheetpan and place parchment paper in between the sheets so they do not stick in the freezer. It will last up to a month in the freezer.
Hazelnut and Almond Frangipane
100 grams butter, room temperature
100 grams sugar
10 grams flour
50 grams almond flour
50 grams hazelnut flour
Dark rum, to taste (splash)
Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, almond and hazelnut flours and mix until it comes together. Add the dark rum to taste (about 1 Tbs).
Poached Seckel Pears
200 grams sugar
400 grams water
1/2 vanilla bean
10 seckel pears
Make a sugar syrup with water, sugar and vanilla. Peel the pears leaving the stem on. Poach the pears in the sugar syrup in medium to low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft. Remove pears from syrup and let them cool. Store pears in cooled syrup in refrigerator.