Saturday, May 11, 2013

Puff Pastry: Best Thing Ever

Happy Mother's Day!  My gift to you is a rant about puff pastry and why it's so awesome.  AND!  A recipe.


Puff pastry is a freezer rock star.  You can buy it months in advance, pull it out and have it be ready for toppings in 10 minutes.  Plus, you can turn it into a dinner or dessert that everyone loves, because it's difficult not to love something so full of butter.

I am a huge fan of the puff pastry from Trader Joe's, specifically, for two reasons.

  1. It only contains flour, butter, salt, water and sugar.  NO HYDROGENATED OILS!    
  2. It's pre-flattened.  I've bought stuff at other stores that's folded in half, and you have to thaw it and roll it or worry about breaking it if you don't let it thaw enough.  
OK, so now we have "freezer friendly" "makes dinner fast" "not full of weird stuff" and "easy to work with".  Are there any downsides?  Well, yeah, it's full of butter, so it's not exactly the heart healthiest of foods.  Still, I think the benefits outweigh the risks for an occasional treat or fast dinner. 

Asparagus Romesco Tart

A few weeks ago, I happened to have some puff pastry and some homemade romesco in the freezer.  I had some time, but not a lot of energy, so I thawed out both puff pastry sheets on the counter and made the asparagus romesco tart (above) and a tasty strawberry cardamum tart for dessert. 

My family was super happy with the results, and I got to feel like I made something complicated and exciting for dinner, when really all I did was smear some stuff on some other stuff and bake. 

So basically I got a bunch of the self satisfied happiness of cooking without a ton of effort.  Love that!


Yummy Tart

Strawberry Cardamum Tart

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry dough, thawed for about 10 minutes
  • 1/4 cup strawberry preserves or jam 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed cardamum
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the puff pastry on a baking sheet covered with a silpat or parchment. 
  3. Microwave the strawberry preserves for about 30 seconds, until they are spreadable. 
  4. Slice the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and crushed cardamum.
  5. Spread the preserves over most of the tart, leaving an edge like you would for a pizza. Don't push hard and don't bruise up your pastry. Don't spread it on very thickly.
  6. Arrange the strawberries over the top of the preserves.  Drizzle on the sugar, cardamum, strawberry juice stuff from the bottom of the bowl.  Try your best not to eat the last 3 strawberries and lick your fingers.  fail.  OMG it's so tasty. 
  7. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the pastry is puffy.
  8. Take it out of the oven and let it cool while you eat dinner (maybe 20 minutes?).  The resting time will let the preserves solidify up a bit. 
  9. I slid mine off the silpat with a pizza peel and used a pizza wheel to slice it into 4 to serve. 
Note: I bought cardamum seeds out of the pods and I just crush them up with the flat of my chef's knife, and maybe run the blade through them a few times.  If you buy the seedpods, crush them to get the seeds out, then crush again and run your blade through them.  I do not buy the preground stuff because I think it tastes like dust, and the seeds, when crushed, taste like delightful heavenly wonderfulness. 

I could *easily* have eaten half of this.  It was delicious.  Cardamum and strawberries are amazing together, and this was super easy.  

Yum! 

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