Butterly delicious puff pastry

There is a right time and a wrong time for everything. Somethings happen at the exact moment they should and others at the exact moment that they should not. I recently started practising a healthier lifestyle, as in not as healthy as it needs to be but healthier than I have done before. So my prime motive was to reimagine and recreate most recipes to suit my healthier goals. I did succeed almost all the time. But then I came across this recipe which just could not be altered but was so good that I could not resist. Damn you recipe!

So here goes –

INGREDIENTS

Plain flour             200 gms

Unsalted butter    100 gms

Salt                          4 gms

Sugar                       4 gms

Water                   85-100 ml

If you do not have a weighing scale, then just use the recipe in the same proportion i.e. 1 cup flour would need 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 tsp sugar and salt each. I am guessing that should work.

DIRECTIONS

Sift the flour and mix it with sugar and salt.

Add water and knead it into a soft dough. Add 5 gms of butter to the dough and mix well.

Refrigerate it for half hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a thin long rectangular sheet.

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Take 45 gms of butter and apply it to 3/4 of the sheet. Take care not to apply it to the ends of the dough sheet.

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Fold the dough sheet as shown below.

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Refrigerate for half hour in a plate dusted with dough. If you want, you can cover the plate with a cling film else you can leave it as is.

Remove from the refrigerator and roll the dough into a thin rectangular sheet. This needs to be done carefully so as to ensure the butter does not come out of the dough. Apply the balance 50 gms butter and fold it the same way as shown above.

Refrigerate it for half hour again. Remove the dough after half hour and roll it into a sheet carefully. This time we do not need to add any butter but we need to fold the sheet in the same way as shown above.

Refrigerate for 40 minutes.

Remove the dough and roll it out into a thin rectangular sheet.

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Cut out the corners so as to make it into a good shaped rectangle. You can use a pizza cutter if you have or the plain old knife would do.

If you are cutting with the knife then don’t drag the knife across the dough. Just position it and keep it pressed. Lift the knife and position and press at the next part of the dough.

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There are various ways to make the puff pastry. It can either be plain or stuffed. It can be done in various shapes and sizes. I tried out the following ones. You can let your imagination and Google search run wild and come up with various shapes and designs.

I cut the dough into 4 parts. For the first pastry, I used a small cup to make two circles in the dough.

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I put some filling on one of the circles and closed it with the other.

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I used a fork to press down the dough to stick to the bottom part. It gives the pastry a good design as well.

For the second pastry, I made a simple big cirle, stuffed it with some filling and folded it into two making it a semi circled pastry.

The third and fourth pastries were to be square ones. I had a square cup which I used to cut the dough in shape.

For the third pastry, I cut the dough into a square and stuffed it with filling and folded it along the diagonal making it a triangular pastry.

For the fourth pastry, I used the square cup to cut 2 squares, one within the other.

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Just fold the outer square as shown below –

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You can fill this with jam or cream or any other savory filling.

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So, my four pastries were ready!!!

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I also added the balance dough, which were left over from the borders of all this shaping business. I made them into small rolls and put them on the baking tray.

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Then I brushed all the pastries with some milk just before I put them in to bake.

Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes till the top gets a nice brown colour.

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See the layers in the puff pastry thanks to all that folding and rolling out the dough!

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The filling can be any mix of vegetables or jam or cream. I used the previous day’s leftover vegetables as a filling.

If you find a way to make this recipe healthy, please drop a line here!

Happy Baking!

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Yummilicious Hasselback Potatoes

I am in forever need of items that lend themselves easily to cooking for one. Lunch is a solitary affair and if there is something more boring than eating alone it is cooking for one. My perfect lunch would be tasty, easy and quick to make. So when I came across this recipe for hasselback potatoes, I knew I had struck gold.

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes                     3

Butter                         2 tbsp

Rosemary                  1/2 tsp

Thyme                        1/2 tsp

Red chilly powder       1/4 tsp

1. Preheat your oven to 200C

2. Wash the potatoes thoroughly.

3. Make cuts to the potatoes but do not cut it through

Potato1

Melt the butter and coat the potatoes with half of the butter using a brush. If you choose, you can add the herbs and chilly powder right away else you can wait and add it at half time. If you are using salted butter, then you won’t need additional salt. Else, add salt as well to the melted butter before coating.

Potato2

Bake it at 200C for 30 minutes in a greased tray or pan.

Potato3

It should have attained some crispiness and the slices would have started to separate as you can observe in the picture above. It will be easier to apply the herbs and chilly powder at this stage. You can use the brush and coat the individual slices as well.

Apply the balance butter on the potatoes and bake for another 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove and add grated cheese to the potatoes and bake for 5-7 minutes

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Once the cheese is melted and appears brownish, remove from the oven and cool.

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If you are not adding cheese, then bake it for 30-35 minutes the second time instead of 25 minutes.

My potatoes were very crispy at the top end and soft at the bottom (uncut) end. I liked it that way. If you don’t, then turn the potatoes on its head and bake for the last 15 minutes.

If you want them to be crispier then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The thinner the potato slices are crispier it would be.

Easy and yummy! Can’t get better than this.

Happy Baking!

Rosemary and Sesame seeds Sunflower Bread

Now here is another bread…finally I am justifying the name of my blog! Yay!

As I said before, make the dough using the standard bread recipe.

After Step 8, divide the dough into 4 parts in increasing sizes. Take the largest piece of the dough and roll it into a round shape like a roti.

Cut it from the centre in four directions. Make further cuts between these four cuts near the end but not fully cut.

Step One

Once all 8 cuts are made, open the little dough flaps facing outside like petals.

Step 2

Take the second largest dough roll and press it within the first one so as it expands to the empty space within the first dough.

Step 3

Again make cuts in the dough without going all the way through. Just ensure that the cuts are between the ones made on the first roll of dough so that the petals don’t overlap.

Step 4

Open out all the petals.

Step 5

Do the same for the third largest dough as well.

Finally, take the smallest piece of dough and press it into the empty space within the dough. Sprinkle some rosemary and sesame seeds on the centre.

Leave it covered with a damp cloth for 30-45 minutes.

Step 6

Bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes till the top gets a nice brown colour.

final sunf bread final sunflower bread

Enjoy it with butter or cheese or just like that.

Happy Baking!

Bread Basket

So  I figured I could make a bread basket. I saw some wonderful pictures online but mine did not come even close. Reason – primarily because I was using only wheat dough. That makes it dense and not airy to try out different styles. But nevertheless, it did come out nicely. When I added some vegetables to it, it was totally yummy!

Again, the bread recipe for this is from here. Instead of plain flour, I used wheat flour but for this, the recipe is the same.

Preheat the oven at 175C

After Step 8 in that recipe, grease the back of a muffin tray or cover it with aluminum foil. Roll out the dough to a thin sheet and cut it into strips.

Draw lines

Cut the strips in half and use them to roll over each muffin mould in the muffin tray. I have tried rolling it in two different ways. Option 1 worked better for me than option 2.

Single basket dough

Diff design dough

All 3 dough

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 175C till it starts browning. Cool and unmould after ten minutes

Finished baskets

You can also stuff the bread baskets with vegetables and top it with grated cheese. Cook the vegetables separately and fill in the basket.

Stuffed basket

Happy Baking!

Stuffed and Braided Bread

This is a simple stuffed bread / masala bread. here we bake the bread with some spicy stuffing in it. You can have a sweet stuffing as well. I used a mix of paneer, mushroom, herbs, spring onion, coriander leaves, chilly powder and salt. I did not cook or fry it. I just mixed all of the stuffing in a bowl.

Pan Br filling

Use this bread recipe for this bread. After Step No.8 in that recipe, roll out the dough into a thin sheet.

Pan Br Rolled

Make cuts in the dough on both sides with a pizza cutter or a simple knife. Try to keep the cuts on both sides at the same level.

Pan Br cut

Place the filling in the centre. Do not keep too much since the filling can spill out.

Pan br fill in

Start covering the filling with each strip of dough till the entire filling is covered.

Pan Br fold

You can either leave the last part of the dough as is to take the shape of a fish. You can cut and place some olives as its eyes and carve a mouth.

Pan br fish

Else you can cover up the entire dough after adding a little filling at the tail end.

Pan Br full fold

Leave it covered by a damp cloth for 30 minutes. Brush the dough with milk or a beaten egg just before baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the top of the bread turns into a nice brown color.

Paneer Bread

If you are adding vegetables like potatoes, onions, etc., then you need to fry them in a little olive oil before stuffing them in the bread.

Happy Baking.

Basic Bread

There are a million ways to shape bread in fun, innovative and very creative ways. But the basic recipe to bake it remains the same. So here is the standard basic bread recipe. I have tried some different shapes but the recipe for all of them is this one.

INGREDIENTS

Plain flour                     1 Cup

Milk/ Water                   1/3-1/2 Cup

Salt                               1/2 tsp

Sugar                           1/2 tbsp

Dried / Instant Yeast    3/4 tsp

Butter                           3/4 tbsp

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven at 175C

2. Mix yeast and sugar in a bowl

3. Warm 3 tbsp water and add it to the yeast mix and set it aside for 5 minutes

4. Sift and mix the plain flour and salt.

5. Add the yeast mix to the flour mix and combine well

6. Make it into a dough by adding water.

7. Knead the dough for 10-12 minutes till it is soft and elastic

8. Keep it in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth for an hour or till it doubles in size.

9. Knock down the dough, knead for 1-2 minutes and leave it on the baking dish that you would be using for the actual baking covered with a damp cloth for half hour

10. Bake for 15-18 minutes till the top of the bread gets a nice brown colour and the bottom is hollow when tapped.

NOTES

1. The best way to knead the dough for bread is to spread it length-wise and fold it into two and repeat. Your hand movement would be akin to brushing your clothes with a brush while washing i.e. push the dough away (extend / spread it) and bring it back. The kneading makes all the difference to the quality of the bread

2.  If you are stuffing your bread with any filling or making it into any shape, then it needs to be done after the dough is rested for the first hour and before it is set to rest for the second time.

3. Th water mixed with yeast and sugar should not be too hot or room temperature. If it is too hot, the yeast die and so the bread will not rise. If it is not warm enough, the yeast will not start acting on the dough until late and will result in a dense bread.

4. If the yeast does not get to a froth in the warm water within 2-3 minutes, it means the yeast has gone stale and cannot be used.

5. The same recipe can be used with wheat flour or a mix of plain flour and wheat flour

Capsicum Rings

To continue my story about the Radio City contest – I was selected for the final round the requirement of which was that it had to be a rice dish and to be completed in 45 minutes.

I decided on capsicum rings with rice and vegetables stuffed in it since I did not want to go the mixed rice routine . Its easy and looks nice too! I called it ‘Ring-a Ring-a Rice. So though I did not win the prize, Iw as told my recipe would feature in their Radio City Cookbook which they will be publishing soon. So Yay to me!!!

INGREDIENTS

Rice                   1/4 cup

Capsicum, large  1

Onion                   1

Tomatoes             1

Garam Masala     1/4 tsp

Ajwain                  1/4 tsp

Green chilly         1

Oil                        2 tbsp

Salt                      to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Cook the rice with little extra water than you usually add so that it becomes a little soggy.

2. Fry the onions and tomatoes in 1 1/2tsp oil along with the green chilly, ajwain and garam masala

3. Cut the capsicum into roundels / rings and apply little salt to the inner side of the capsicum and keep aside

4. Once the rice and masala mixture has cooled, mix both of them nicely so that the rice has completely taken the flavour of the masala

5. Heat a tava and add oil

6. Place the capsicum rings on the tava

7. Fill the rings with the rice mixture

8. Cook on both sides till golden brown

9. Serve warm

Capsicum Rings

NOTES

1. The filling can be a mix of different vegetables. If you are excluding rice then you need to add potatoes so that the rest of the vegetables can be bound together

2. If you are not adding rice, then paneer can also be added.

3. If you want to add cheese, then grate it on the capsicum after the cooking is complete and the gas is switched off. Leave it covered for a couple of minutes.

Happy Cooking

Oats and vegetable tikka

Did you know Radio City is organizing a cookery contest across the country in various apartment complexes. It held one in my apartment last Sunday. The process was that they would select three best dishes and those cooks needed to participate in the second round where they had to cook within 45 minutes and ingredients available and that one had to be a rice dish.

I had decided on my favorite banana bread. But as luck and the Bangalore Electricity Department would have it, the power went out as soon as I put the bread in the oven to bake. So I pulled it out and finished it off in the pressure cooker. But the end result, though tasty, did not seem fit for a contest. So, I decided on this simple and very nutritious recipe that I had come up with few days ago. And I did make it to the Top 3. Yay!

INGREDIENTS

Vegetables               1 Cup

(any combination of peas, cabbabge, cauliflower, carrot, baby corn, corn, broccoli)

Oats                          1/2 Cup

Oil                              2 tbsp

Garlic                         2 pods

Ajwain                       1/2 tsp

Garam Masala           1 tsp

Green Chilly               1

Red chilly powder      1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves        8-10

Salt                              to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Cut all the vegetables, boil them till soft and set aside to cool

2. Fry chopped onions, garlic and green chilly in 2 tsp oil

3. Add the onions to the vegetables and grind them into a coarse paste adding minimal water.

3. Take oats in a bowl and add ajwain, garam masala, red chilly powder, coriander leaves and salt

4. Add the vegetables and mix well to form a dough

5. Make lemon sized balls and flatten it

6. Heat a tava and add oil

7. Fry the tikkas on the tava till golden brown on both sides.

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8. Serve with ketchup or coriander chutney

Oats Veg Roll

NOTES

1. You can add potatoes also to the vegetables. I like to keep them as healthy as possible and so do not add them

2. If you have added too much water while grinding the vegetables and the mix does not reach a dough like consistency despite the oats then add 1 or 2 spoons of chickpea flour / besan. Again, this is not very healthy and so try to limit the water while grinding

3. If you are adding besan, then add it in small quantities till you reach the required consistency. Too much besan suppresses the taste of the vegetables and masala

Wheat Jaggery Cake

My mother gave me almost a kilo of jaggery the last time she visited. She expected me to make puran poli and kozhakatai for the husband. But I was very keen to try baking with jaggery. It is definitely healthier than sugar and I could bake more often without adding a teaspoon of guilt along the way.

So, I found this recipe and immediately started baking it. It tasted awesome but it was dense cake. I assume that wheat plus jaggery would not be the most airy cake. But it could serve as a good desert after dinner without the heaps of calories. Here goes –

INGREDIENTS

Jaggery                 75 gms

Wheat                 110 gms

Bananas             110 gms

Oil                          75 ml

Baking powder      1/2 tsp

Baking soda          1/2 tsp

Cinnamon              1/2 tsp

Walnuts, chopped   10

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 150C

2. Powder the jaggery, mix it with the mashed bananas and keep aside for 10-15 minutes

3. Mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder

4. Add the flour mix to the banana mix

5. Add oil and cinnamon powder

6. Add the walnuts and pour it into a greased pan

Wheat jag dough

7. Bake at 150C for 30 minutes and then at 160C for 10 minutes

Wheat jag pan

8. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes and then unmould

Wheat jag cake

NOTES

1. The amount of jaggery would vary depending on its sweetness.

2. Very ripe bananas would be better than regular ones

3. The recipe asked for the bananas and jaggery mixture to be blended in a blender. I did not do that but the texture was good despite not blending

Happy Baking!

Strawberry Jam Muffin Tragedy

Suddenly, I had a craving for strawberry muffins. I hunted for strawberries for almost a week but could not find good ones anywhere near home. Finally I found this recipe and settled on the next to best option. It was simple and the pictures looked delicious. But unfortunately the power at home decided to play truant at the exact time it should not, while baking. The muffin tray was larger than my pressure cooker and so I could do nothing to salvage it. Only silver lining was that the power went out almost at the end and so the muffin was cooked but sank. The husband and I did lick off the last crumbs of the muffin because it was totally yummy. I should try it again soon….or maybe with blueberry jam this time! I did make a few changes to the recipe, as always. So here is mine –

INGREDIENTS

Almond Flour / Plain Flour                      1 Cup

Sugar                                                      1/2 Cup

Strawberry Jam                                      1/4 Cup

Buttermilk                                                1/4 Cup

Egg, beaten                                             1

Baking Soda                                            1/2 tsp

Cinnamon                                                1/2 tsp

Nutmeg                                                    1/2 tsp

Salt                                                           1/4 tsp

Oil                                                             1/4 Cup

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and keep aside

Almond powder starw muff

3. Mix the egg, oil and buttermilk

Wet mix str muff

4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients

5. Add the strawberry jam and mix well

Final mix str muff

6. Pour the batter into a greased muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes till the toothpick comes out clean

str muff in tray

NOTES

1. The recipe calls for plain flour. But I had some coarsely ground almonds which I needed to use. The texture was crumbly but the richness of almond with the sweetness of the strawberry jam tasted good

Happy Baking!