Feasts and Treats: pastry like a pro

Anjoli Signature; H&D Feasts & Treats

I’m always impressed by my friend Judit. She is one of those girls who can just get anything creative. She cooks, she crochets, she can sew and she generally makes me feel like I should have paid more attention in Design and Technology classes in high school. We were hanging out one day and she casually dropped into the conversation that she had been a professional pastry chef…

Of course, my jaw dropped – not only because there was one more thing to add to her already impressive list of skills, but because I had a million things I wanted to ask her and wanted her to teach me! Gracious girl that she is, she agreed to come over and bake with me.

making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch

You can’t knead it too little or too much; the ambient temperature can’t be too hot or too cold; you have to make sure it’s well rested. There are just so many things that could go wrong! It seemed like the perfect thing to get a professional to ease me into. We didn’t have enough time to do a proper puff pastry, so we did two quicker variations – one yeasted crescent-roll dough, and another quick puff pastry. I’ve included both recipes below, but didn’t end up baking the puff (I’ve saved it for a delicious pie recipe I’ll be sharing with you in a future instalment of Feasts and Treats).

Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch

The whole process took a lot of patience more than anything else, but it really wasn’t too difficult once we got into the swing of things. It certainly helped me work those biceps, and has inspired me to try out some more scary techniques. The results are delicious and definitely worth it!

making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch 
Makes 16 small rolls
You can find the original recipe here.

making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
125g cold butter
350g flour
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
100ml milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
½ sachet yeast
1 egg, whisked
Fillings of your choice (optional). We used Nutella, cheese and pear paste
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making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
1. Place the butter in the freezer to harden.
2. Add all ingredients except the butter and the egg wash to a bowl and combine until the mixture comes together.
3. Turn the mixture out onto a board and knead until you get a firm dough (about 10 minutes).Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
4. Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap.
5. Place in the fridge to rest for about 90 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from the fridge and separate into 8 balls of roughly equal size.
7. Roll the dough pieces between your palms into smooth balls, then roll out the dough balls into circles of around 20cm in diameter.
8. Take one circle, grate over a layer of butter, then top with another circle, another layer of butter and repeat until you’ve used up the last circle (don’t top the last layer with butter).Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
9. Roll the dough sandwich into a large circle about 3mm thick. Cut into 16 wedges for small rolls, or fewer wedges for larger rolls.
10. Cut a vertical slit into the wide end of each wedge. At this point you can add a small dollop of your favourite filling just above the slit. (We made plain rolls, a few with Nutella, a few with Swiss cheese and a few with a mixture of pear paste and tasty cheese.) Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
11. Carefully roll a pastry wedge, from the wide edge to the narrow tip, to create a log shape – it will look like a straight croissant. Repeat with remaining pastry wedges.Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
12. Take the ends of one roll and curve them in to create a cute little crescent. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
13. Place the rolls on a tray and put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
14. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush each roll with a little of the eggwash, then bake for 30 minutes or until golden (we took ours out half way and sprinkled with a little grated cheese).Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
15. Serve with jam, or a cup of tea!.
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making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
Makes about 1kg or enough for about 2 large pies
Total preparation time about 4 hours. Good for a weekend project!
You can find the original recipe here.
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making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
500g plain white flour (cake flour is best, otherwise all-purpose flour is fine)
150ml sour cream
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
100-150ml water
250g salted butter
.

making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
1. Put the butter in the freezer to harden.
2. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre
3. Add the sour cream, vinegar, salt and about half the water and mix well. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a little water at a time and mix until the dough comes together. It should be quite firm – not sticky, but not crumbly either.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth.Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
5. Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6. Roll the dough out into a long, thin strip of about 20×60 cm and 5mm thick.Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
7. Grate an even layer of butter over the pastry and put the rest back into the freezer.
8. Fold the top and bottom ends of the pastry towards the middle, then fold towards the middle again so the ends meet, then fold the whole lot in half again.Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
9. Wrap the slab in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
10. Roll the dough out into a long, thin strip again, rolling in the same direction as you folded.
11. Repeat steps 7 to 10 another 7 times, making sure to rest the pastry between each step. (That’s not a typo! The 3.5 hours for this quick pastry is way shorter than the two days it takes to make proper puff pastry!) Finish with a 30-minute rest in the fridge.Making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch
12. Roll out the pastry one more time to about 5mm, and use it to top a pie, or fill with your favourite ingredients.
13. Bake at 220°C for 20-30 minutes, or until flaky and golden.

Tips:

1. Placing the butter in the freezer makes it much easier to grate.
2. If you have a granite or marble bench, roll out the dough directly onto it – it will stay much cooler, making the dough easier to work with.

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making crescent rolls and puff pastry from scratch

– Anjoli
H&D Guest Writer. Feasts and Treats; Anjoli
If you enjoyed this post, then you may want to check out some of Anjoli’s other culinary creations in Feasts and Treats

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