PBS called The Great British Baking Show. I discovered back episodes of the series on youtube from the BBC where it is known as the Great British BakeOff and watched back to back into the wee hours on many a night. (Can't wait for the next series starting up again in August.)
As I watched the series progress, the baking seemed so ambitious. All the tarts, breads, pastries the bakers came up with were amazing and then the technical challenges, especially in the last series, were generally things I'd never heard of. So sometime I'm going to try macarons but in the meantime, this summer, I decided to challenge myself to make rough puff pastry and croissants.
First up was rough puff pastry. We've been having a heat wave here, temperatures much higher than we are used to and days and days of sunshine which hasn't meant for days in the kitchen. So my project lapsed while we watched kite surfers, spent days at the beach with friends (and a goat wandering by), and a visit to a local animal rehab center.
|Mudpie, a Vancouver Island marmot|
|Rosie the porcupine hiding behind a post|
|Awww - a baby possum|
|Women's equestrian drill team|
Rough Puff Pastry (from BBC Good Food, Gordon Ramsay)
250 g all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
250 g butter, not cold, but not melted
~ 150 mL water
Add the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and rub into the flour until you have it through the flour but still in largish pieces. Make a well in the flour and add most of the water and mix until a dough forms, using more water if required. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Pour onto a lightly floured surface, knead slightly and then roll into a rectangle. Roll only in one direction until the rectangle measures about 20 cm by 50 cm. Try and keep the edges straight and neat but don't fuss too much, it will get easier to keep the rectangle as you proceed. You should still be able to see streaks for butter. Fold down the top third of the dough into the center, fold up the bottom third over it and turn the dough a quarter turn (right or left but always go the same direction).
Roll out the dough again into the big rectangle and refold in thirds as per above. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 mins to rest and cool. Roll out again into the large rectangle, fold and turn, roll and fold again and refrigerate again for 15 mins. Now the dough is ready to be used. If there are scraps leftover from use, stack them so the layers remain instead of scrunching into a ball.
Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
1/2 batch of rough puff pastry
cheese, sliced or grated
Preheat your oven to 400 deg F. Roll out the pastry into a rectangle measuring about 20 cm by 50 cm. Using about 1 tbsp of mustard, smooth a very thin layer across the whole of the pastry. Layer ham slices over about 2/3 of the pastry, making sure that the long edge of the pastry has a full layer of ham. Do the same with the cheese, if using grated cheese, you can cover the entire pastry. Roll up into a roll, starting on the long edge with ham, rolling as tightly as you can, pressing the end into the roll to form a seam. Slice off 1" wide slices off the log and place on an ungreased baking sheet filling facing upwards. Bake to 12-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet.
When I made this I used peach slices, but think it would work better with diced peach so I've written the recipe with that as the suggestion.
1/2 batch of rough puff pastry
1 medium peach, diced
1 tsp melted butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
Preheat your oven to 400 deg F. Roll out the pastry into a rectangle measuring about 20 cm by 50 cm.
Brush butter over the entire pastry, then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over, followed by the cinnamon and the ginger. Spread the peach over the pastry, concentrate along one long side.
Roll up starting on the long side with the peach, rolling as tightly as you can, pressing the end into the roll to form a seam. Cut 1" slices off the log and place on an ungreased baking sheet facing upward.