It was 1 year ago that I last made cheese pockets. I've been good, even if the scale disagrees. So, prompted by Norm's posting his Crumb Buns, I made my annual indulgence.
These are made with a sweet, coffee cake dough and filled with a mixture that is mostly hoop cheese, which is a non-fat cheese somewhat similar to ricotta. (Recipe follows.) For some background on these pastries, please surf to my previous blog entry:
I won't repeat all the history, but I will mention of few differences in this bake which resulted from my prior experience and helpful tips from Norm (nbicomputers). But, first, the recipe:
Coffee Cake Dough (Formula thanks to Norm)
Sugar 4 oz (1/2 cup)
Sea Salt 1/4 oz (1 1/2 tsp, or table salt 1 tsp)
Milk Powder (skim) 1 oz (3 T)
Butter or Shortening 4 oz (8 T or 1/2 cup)
Egg yolk 1 oz (1 large egg's yolk)
Large eggs 3 oz (2 eggs)
Yeast (fresh) 1 1/4 oz (or 3 3/4 tsp instant yeast = 0.4 oz)
Water 8 oz (1 cup)
Vanilla 1/4 oz (2/3 tsp)
Cardamom 1/16 oz (1/2 tsp)
Cake Flour 4 oz (7/8 cup)
Bread Flour 13 oz (2 3/4 cups)
Other flavors can be added such as lemon or orange rind grated
Note: Using other size eggs or other flours will result in substantial changes in the dough consistency require adjustments in flour or water amounts.
Hoop cheese or Farmer's cheese 12 oz
Sour Cream 1/4 cup
Sugar 2 T
Flour 2 T
Egg 1 large
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
Mix all ingredients well. Refrigerate until needed, up to 24 hours.
Beat 1 egg with 1 T water
Sugar (all white, or part brown) 2 oz (4 T)
Butter 2 oz (4 T)
All purpose flour 4 oz
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp.
1. Cream the sugar and butter.
2. Add the flour and mix with your fingers, rubbing the ingredients to a coarse crumb. (This can also be done entirely in a food processor.)
Mixing and Fermenting the Dough
1. Mix the sugar, butter or shortening, salt and milk powder to a paste.
2. Add the eggsbeaten with the vanilla and cardamom and stir.
3. If using powdered yeast, mix it with part of the water. If using cake yeast, crumble it in with the flour.
4. Add the water (the part without the yeast, if using powdered yeast, otherwise all of it), cardamom and vanilla.
5. Add the flour. (If using powdered yeast, add the yeast-water now. If using cake yeast, crumble it on top of the flour now.)
6. Mix well into a smooth, soft dough. (20+ minutes in a KitchenAid at Speed 3 using the paddle.) The dough should form a ball on the paddle and clean the sides of the bowl.
7. Cover the dough and let it rise to double size. (2 1/2-3 hours at 60F.)
8. Punch down the dough, and allow it to rest 10-20 minutes.
Making up the Pastries
1. Divide the dough into 2.25 oz pieces and roll each into a ball. (My dough made 18 pieces weighing 2.35 oz each.)
2. Place dough pieces on a sheet pan or your bench. (I used a lightly floured marble slab.)
3. Stretch or roll out each piece into a square, 4 inches on a side.
4. Take each dough piece and press the middle with a round, hard object such as the bottom of a small measuring cup to form a depression in the center.
5. Place about 1 T of cheese filling in the center of each piece.
6. Take each corner of the square pieces and fold 3/4 of the way to the center, pinching the adjacent edges of the folded dough together to seal the seams. (See Note)
7. Cover and allow to rise to 3/4 double. (30-40 minutes at 70F.) Do not underproof!
8. Brush the top dough of each pastry with egg wash. Do not get egg wash on the exposed cheese filling.
9. Sprinkle streusel over each pastry.
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Bake pasties on parchment lined sheet pan until golden brown. (25-35 minutes)
3. When pastries are cooled a little, sift confectioner's sugar over each, if desired.
Note: The pastries can be refrigerated overnight or frozen at this point. If refrigerated, allow them to rise at room temperature to 3/4 double, and proceed as above. If frozen, thaw at room temperature, allow to rise to 3/4 double, and proceed as above.
One thing I learned last time was that under-proofing these pastries results in exuberant oven spring, with the pastries bursting open. So, I really proofed these puppies. Maybe a little bit more than was necessary. But maybe not.
Another thing I changed was to pick up on a suggestion for speeding up proofing by putting the made-up pastries in a humidified, warm oven. I found that my KitchenAid conventional/convection oven has a proofing setting! It is actually a "dehydrating" setting, but I set it for 100F and put a pan of just-boiled water in to create a humid environment. This probably cut my proofing time in half, compared to my 70F kitchen.
As you can see, the pastries had just a bit of oven spring, which is good in this case, and they did not burst, which is also good.
Previously, I had topped the pastries with streusel. This time, I just egg washed them and sprinkled on a few sliced almonds. I skipped the painting with syrup to make them shiny. So, I could tell my wife these are the "low-cal version."
I had only one for dessert. Pretty good stuff. It will be even better with coffee for breakfast.