It has gotten cooler here at 81F so I gained some confidence to try puff pastry. I recently saw some very elegant apple turnovers (chausson aux pommes) and I can't get them off my head, I really want to make and taste them and that day finally came.
The recipe uses inverted puff pastry and that made me even want to try it more. I first heard of inverted puff in the anime Yakitate!! Japan; it said that instead of the dough enclosing the butter, it is the butter that encloses the dough! What?! I said to my self. Is that possible? Yes! It is really possible! I was convinced when I saw a recipe in Advanced Bread and Pastry.
The key to it is the beurre manié, the floured butter so you can wrap the butter onto the dough and proceed with the turns without trouble. I gave it 2 sets of double and single turns made alternately. It was trickier to roll because it's the butter that is in contact with my steel pipe.
The recipe also includes the most delicious apple filling I've ever tasted. A famous fast food with an "M" and a "D" made me hate apple pies because of it's overly sweet mushy one-dimensional filling! This one is just the opposite, sweet, tart, and complex with nice apple chunks. The original recipe recommends Golden Delicious for the compote and Granny smith for the chunks. I can't find Golden Delicious here (You guys in the US and Europe are lucky to have a large variety of apple cultivars) so I used the only ones available.
Since the compote is meant to be sweet and smooth. I used apples that are overly sweet and turns mushy when cooked; I used Red Delicious and Fuji apples for the compote; I steamed them until soft and because I don't have a food processor, I just passed them through a sieve until fine. The compote was cooked on a pan to reduce the water content. The Granny Smith were left in chunks for texture and to also provide tartness, they were sauteed in butter and brown sugar for a caramel flavor. It was heavenly when the compote and apple chunks were mixed.
The puff pastry (I should have dusted the work surface liberally with flour but because I didn't do that, some of them stuck to surface) was cut into 4.5 inch diameter circles. The delicious apple filling was scooped into the centers and closed to form a half moon shape. They are eggwashed twice then scored with a leaf pattern before being baked in my preheated clay pot for 20 minutes. They were flipped after 10 minutes.
Some of them leaked that's why the syrup from the apples burnt on the surface but on some it formed a lovely natural glaze so no need to brush them with some simple syrup.
The firewood that day was not so good so it did not produce the necessary heat for the pastry to puff but it was still the crispest flakiest pastry I've ever eaten. The crust looks pale on some areas but it was very crisp, light and delicate all over. The leaf pattern was obvious too despite being flipped! I'm so happy!
The dough was also a little salty and goes well with the apple filling. The combination of the salty flaky dough and tart sweet aromatic filling was epic! It was dad's favorite pastry that I've made to date. The photo didn't show the filling well because we're all in a hurry to eat them and a thunderstorm was coming too and we have mangoes to pick before it gets rainy and windy! I ate some with cheese and it goes well with the apple turnovers but more will go for a bit of cream or ice cream. Oh, I have the best accompaniment to these, cheese ice cream! I know, many of you just puked but it is one the most common flavors of ice cream in our country and it's also a characteristic of our cuisine to mix sweet and savory; and honestly it's really good but to each his own. Try it someday, it is really delicious.
I also made a peach cake for my birthday. Choux pastry, custard and some peaches, yum! I'm tired of conventional birthday cakes composed of a sponge or "butter" cake filled with not even buttercream but with an overly sweet greasy shortening based frosting. I really want to bend the realm of birthday cakes so I decided to make my own this year. Last year's cake was unique too, Brazo de Mercedes a meringue roulade filled with a rich lime scented custard.
I also cooked some pancit. It is always marks a special occasion. There was no canned braised pork leg but it was still overflowing with Chinese sausages, shrimps and veggies that's why it was very delicious.
The whole table for the simple birthday meal.
May dad's gift for my birthday. A nice serrated knife so I can cut my breads easily. I've always used a small Chinese cleaver for cutting my bread and it's difficult not to squish and destroy them especially soft breads. Now, I could cut them with ease. Thanks daddy!
Zhou Clementine today. She has gotten stronger, she now quadruples in 12 hours to fill more than half of her home.
I thank God for my birthday and gifts. I am so blessed!
My favorite is the cake because you know, I really have a sweet tooth. Crunchy choux pastry, creamy rich custard and sweet juicy peaches. Amazing! A dusting of icing sugar completes the look. I served it with an iced sweet potato leaf tea, it goes great with it!