recipe: the girls' guide to puff pastry

12 finished product
Making puff pastry certainly isn't neuroscience, but it definitely is one hell of a workout. Whether you're female or simply feeble-armed, this technique will facilitate all the flakiness you need, without the aching wrists and shoulder strain.
 [slideshow]

The Girls' Guide to Puff Pastry

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Gold Medal flour
  • 3 cups King Arthur flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, slightly softened
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, salt, and 1/2 stick of softened butter in a KitchenAid or other standing mixer, using the blade attachment.
  2. Crack an egg into a liquid measuring cup. Fill the cup, still containing the egg, up to 1 1/3 cups of water. Add to Kitchen Aid.
  3. When dough forms, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for 5 minutes.
  4. Shape dough into a ball and let rest, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
  5. While dough is resting, cut the remaining pound of butter into thin slices (about four lengthwise slices per stick of butter).
  6. Cut a sheet of wax paper 18 inches long and cover with butter slices. Cover with another 18 inch sheet of wax paper. Roll butter into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle, using rolling pin. Chill.
  7. Roll out rested dough into a large rectangle. Chilled butter should fill up about 1/2 to 2/3 of the dough.
  8. Place the butter in the center of the dough and fold into thirds.
  9. Roll out dough again and fold the dough “book fashion” (fold in ends to touch in the center, then close the “book”). Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill.
  10. Repeat the rolling out/book fold process four more times, chilling the dough in wax paper for 30 minutes between each rolling. Beware butter oozing out of the dough and fold all corners squarely.
  11. After last folding, chill at least 3 hours before use.

*The credit for this recipe goes to Betty Ann Donegan, long-time cooking teacher and chemist. She uses two different types of flour because the amount of gluten in flour determines the stiffness of the dough. Her recipe allows for a durable but flexible dough.

recipe: gluten-free madeleines

Studying food culture in France, it was impossible to avoid Proust.  In fact, I had already encountered his famous "madeleine de Combray" (link to story in english, french) in high school - and recall struggling with his run-on, pensive sentences. But as I grew older, and more interested in the history of culinary criticism, I began to appreciate Proust's summary of the essential relationship between food and memory:

"...when nothing subsists of an old past, after the death of people, after the destruction of things, alone, frailer but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, smell and taste still remain for a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, upon the ruins of all the rest, bearing without giving way, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory".

I also learned that pondering while dipping a madeleine in a tasse du thé (cup of tea) was an excellent habit to acquire.

I've since made quite a few batches of madeleines, and have yet to find a recipe I swear by.  So this time, I adapted a recipe myself - inspired by a Parisian amie who is boldly going gluten-free in the bread-centric capital.

 

See the original recipe posting at HonestCooking.com.