Pastry


It is hard not to fall in love with the all-sensory feast that is Provence.

The heady scent of lavender, rose and jasmine, that envelops Grasse, perfume capital of the world.  The gentle sound of the beach that lures you to bathe in the soothing sunshine along the French Riviera.  The aromatic flavour of fresh seafood at a small, yet lively, fishing village near Marseille.  The picturesque markets that boast local produce that burst in seasonal taste and fragrance.  The sweeping landscapes, majestic fields, orchards and vineyards, that embrace you along your journey.

It is no surprise when I recount my trips to France – and travels around the regional areas – that Provence has featured most prominently.  From Avignon in the west to Nice in the east, and passing through a land of contrasting terrain in between, for me, it was love at first sight.

Back home, it is fruitless not to dream of returning to this spectacular part of the world.  But until then, I have my sun-drenched tarte aux abricots to warm me with memories.

{ Apricot Tart } Recipe courtesy Jacques Torres

* Ingredients *
2/3 recipe Pate Sablée, recipe follows
1/2 recipe Almond Cream, recipe follows
10 Fresh Apricots (or canned)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

* Directions *
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle that is about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan by rolling the dough around the rolling pin. Line the tart pan with the dough. Dock the dough and set aside.   Make the almond cream. Spread a layer of almond cream inside the tart. Pit and quarter the fresh apricots. Arrange them on top of the almond cream by standing them on end. Sprinkle slivered almonds on top of the tart and bake for about 40 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

{ Pate Sablée }

* Ingredients *
1/4 cup almond flour
Scant 2 cups cake flour
Generous 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
Pinch salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
l large egg

* Directions *
Place the almond flour, cake flour and cold butter in the mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add the salt and powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Add the egg and mix until combined. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour to chill dough. Roll the dough to the desired size on a lightly floured work surface. Baking instructions vary and will be specified in any recipe using this dough. The dough will keep, well wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 1 month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator until ready to use. If you want to store the dough already rolled into a tart pan, wrap it in plastic wrap.  Yield: enough for 2 (10-inch) tarts

{ Almond Cream }

* Ingredients *
To make almond flour:
1 cup (125 grams) slivered almonds
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon room temperature unsalted butter
1 large egg

* Directions *
It is possible to buy almond flour (use 1 cup if you do) but it just as easy to make your own. Place the slivered almonds (no skin preferred) and granulated sugar into the food processor. Pulse until the almonds and sugar reach the consistency of flour. It is best to pulse because the heat of the blade will cause the release of the oil from the almonds.  Mix in the flour. Mix in the butter. Add the egg and mix until the mixture becomes light and creamy. Do not overmix or the gluten in the flour will overdevelop and the almond cream will lose its delicate texture when baked.  Yield: 1 3/4 cups

6 to 8 servings

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Pastry month round-upWhether an elegant or casual dessert, or simply an afternoon treat, I have re-familiarised myself this month with the fact there is quite simply a pastry for all occasions.  I only made a very small selection, but it has been enough to reignite my interest in pastry – and ensure I continue to include a pastry sampling (or two!) in my ongoing baking repertoire.

Until then, here is a summary of the basic pastry recipes I tackled during my pastry month, and my selected pastry desserts.  I hope you enjoyed some pastry of your own this month, too!

puffPâte feuilletée (or puff pastry) is the king of pastry.  Light, buttery and decadent.  The version by renown chef Jean Millet is outstanding.  Puff pastry is time consuming to make, but you are certainly well rewarded for your efforts.

tarte:: Tarte Tatin ::
This French classic is the ultimate dessert.  Simple yet impressive.  The taste is utterly sublime when made with an all-butter homemade puff pastry.  A winner for every baker.  { Read more here }

  

mille:: Mille Feuille ::
Mille Feuille, Napoleon, Vanilla Slice.   There are many names for this messy-to-eat-but-oh-so-finger-licking-good pastry.  Guaranteed to be all consumed within minutes.  { Read more here }

 

chouxThe lightest of all the pastries, pâte à choux (or choux pastry) can be transformed into an elegant croquembouche or a simple profiterole or éclair. 

eclair:: Chocolate éclairs ::
The simplicity of the chocolate éclair certainly does not translate to boring.  The addition of a light vanilla pastry cream and rich chocolate ganache glaze, provides a classic and mouth-watering dessert.  { Read more here }

 

sucreeJulia Child’s timeless recipe for pâte sucrée (or sweet tart pastry) creates a spectacular vehicle for any sweet tart.

basil:: Lime-Basil Tart ::
The traditional citrus tart is given a twist with the addition of fresh basil.  The fragrance from the basil is subtle but brings out the zesty overtones of the limes.  These flavours pair especially well with a basic sweet tart pastry.  { Read more here }

 

sableeCrumbly and buttery, pâte sablée is melt-in-your-mouth good.  This rich, sweet pastry has a delicate crisp and crumbly texture that seems to enhance the depth of any filling.

strawberry:: Strawberry and Pistachio Tart ::
The pistachio tart pastry produces an incredible aroma when baking.  The nuttiness of the pastry is a lovely complement to the creamy berry filling.  It is a perfect tart for a casual lunch with friends.  { Read more here }

 

briseeThe most basic of pastry.  An all-round baking basic.

cloudberry:: Orange-Spiced Cloudberry Galettes ::
Pâte brisée is made distinctive by Sherry Yard with the inclusion of cinnamon, ginger and orange.  The simple galette is quick and easy to prepare.  Perfect for an afternoon snack.   { Read more here }

Orange Spiced Cloudberry Galette

This was a big day for me.  Why?  Today, I ran my first 10km race.  In fact, today I ran 10km for the first time ever.

Well, actually, I probably should clarify that statement.  When I say run, I in fact mean a jog-so-slow-you-inevitably-have-people-constantly-passing-you.  And when I say jog, I mean my level of exertion when not taking absolute and complete advantage of a well-deserved rest every now and again at water stops along the way.

During my race, I tried to keep my mind distracted.  Once I start thinking about what I am actually doing, the game is up.  Not surprisingly, I thought about baking.  I pondered that I would prefer to be making pâte feuilletée for six hours, rather than run for just over an hour.  I then also thought about my outstanding pastry for the month.  Pâte brisée.  More specifically, I was creating these mini galettes in my mind.

Recently, I found some cloudberry jam.  My first experience of cloudberry was last year, in Finland.  I sampled cloudberry ice-cream – a popular local favourite – and instantly loved the unique flavour.  The orange coloured berry has a distinct tartness, and paired so well with creamy vanilla ice cream.  In Finland, they often eat cloudberry with Leipäjuusto, a squeaky cheese similar to haloumi.  With this in mind, I was originally planning of complementing the cloudberry jam with ricotta, in a similar manner to a crostata di ricotta e marmellata (jam and ricotta tart).

But then I remembered the recipe for Orange-Spiced Pâte Brisée in Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking.  The idea of a spiced pastry that could carry the flavour of a seasonal fruit (Sherry’s recommendation), ultimately won me over.  This simple combination ended up as my must try for the cloudberry jam.

I was happy I kept it straightforward.  In fact, it was quite fortuitous – given the exertion of the day – that the simplest pastry and dessert brought my pastry month to an end.

I made half the recipe to produce four 10cm (2.5 in) galettes.  To increase the Scandinavian twist, I also substituted ground cardamom for the recommended ground ginger.

The result?  Simple but delicious.  The cloudberry jam was sweet, but still permeated strong tart overtones.  With minimal sugar and a strong spice in the pâte brisée, the pastry balanced the jam filling perfectly.  I will definitely make this quick and easy pastry again to pair with a multitude of fresh fruits and other mouth-watering jams!

{ Orange-Spiced Cloudberry Galettes }
Pastry adapted from Sherry Yard

* Ingredients *
250g or 2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold water
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 large egg, at room temperature

* Directions *
Cut the butter into pieces and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Sift together the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the frozen butter.  Mix on low speed for 2 minutes.  Stop the machine and by hand pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.  Whisk together the water, juice and egg in a small bowl.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the liquid all at once. Mix just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.  The dough should be tacky but not sticky.  Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic film.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Quickly roll out each piece into 15cm (6 in) circles.  Chill again for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).  In the centre of the dough, place the jam of your choice.  Fold up 2cm (about 1 inch) around the edge and pinch gently to adhere the folds.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Baked for 30 minutes.

Makes eight 10cm (2.5 in) galettes

Chocolate Eclairs

I admit this is a very obvious choice.  When you mention pâte à choux, who would not immediately think of chocolate éclairs?  So, perhaps I am predictable.  But at least I baked something delicious, yes?

Admittedly, this is not the first time I have made pâte à choux.  Earlier in the year I made a quick batch of profiteroles – inspired after a pastry class with the head pastry chef at E’cco Bistro.  I promised myself that my next batch of pâte à choux would deliver me some tasty éclairs.  So here we are.

I used a vanilla pastry cream filling for the éclairs, and a simple ganache for the glaze.  For both the éclairs (and the profiteroles previously), I did not end up with a neat glaze finish.  I remember the beautifully smooth finish on the éclairs at Fauchon in Paris – and long to replicate that slick look!

Anyway, glaze neat or messy, these éclairs were delicious – even if they were predictable.

{ Pâte à choux } adapted from Sherry Yard

* Ingredients *
¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
45g butter, at room temperature, cubed
½ cup plain flour, sifted
2-3 eggs, at room temperature

* Directions *
Place water, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until butter melts and mixture just comes to the boil. Add all the flour to the butter mixture at once and use a wooden spoon to beat until well combined. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for at least 4 minutes or until the mixture forms a mashed potato like appearance.  Remove from the heat.

Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed for a few minutes to cool the mixture down.  Then start to add the egg one by one.  Make sure the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.  Before you add your last egg, check for consistency.  (See notes.)  Once done, the dough should be shiny and smooth.  At this stage you can fill a piping bag with the choux paste and use straight away or freeze for later.  (See notes.)

Preheat oven to 220 C or 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat.  Pipe the eclairs onto the baking tray. Brush the tops with a little egg mixture. Bake for 10 minutes, or until begin to rise.  Turn the temperature down to 180 C or 350 F.  Carefully prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and bake for another 15 minutes.
When cool, cut the top half off each one with a serrated knife.  Set the tops over a cooling rack.  Drizzle ganache over each top (you can use any recipe you like for the ganache).  Place the tops in the ridge to set, about 15-20 minutes. Fill the eclairs with a simple pastry cream. 

Makes 12 eclairs 10cm (4 in)

{ Basic Pastry Cream }

* Ingredients *
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup cornflour

* Directions *
In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. (Never let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.)  Add the cornflour to the egg mixture until you get a smooth paste.  Set aside.
Meanwhile in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.  Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture.
Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly.  When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.
Remove from heat and pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming.  Cool.  If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.  Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Makes 1 ½ cups

{ A few tips … }

1. You can freeze the pastry before you pipe into puffs.  Transfer the mixture once cooled to a piping bag, seal and then freeze for up to 2 weeks. 
2. The number of eggs given is a bit of a guide.  When you have added the second last egg, check the consistency.  The pastry should be more firm than runny.  If it is a little runny, add the last egg.  Sherry’s tip is to pinch off about 1 teaspoon of the dough with your thumb and index finger, then pull your fingers apart.  The dough should stretch rather than break.  If it breaks, add the last egg.
3. Steam helps these little puffballs rise.  Sherry recommends putting a cup of hot water into a baking dish at the bottom of the oven when you put your puffs in to bake.
4. Filled puffs only last a couple of hours in the fridge.
5. Consider filling with a lovely chocolate custard for a different twist.

Strawberry Tart
There is no denying winter is slowing coming to an end.  Yesterday, Sunday, was splendidly perfect.  Sunny.  Clear.  Dry.  The temperature?  It reached a pleasant 29C (85F).  Yes, a little warm for winter, but this is the sub-tropics after all!

I was pottering in the garden taking advantage of the glorious sunshine, and soaking up the impressive abundance of flowers in bloom.  Smiling and cheery at the floral display, I walked back into the house to check on some baking, bien sûr.

I was overwhelmed by the smell.  It hit me immediately.  It was the sweet, buttery, nutty aroma of my pistachio pastry quietly blind-baking away in the kitchen.  I rushed to the oven.  It was all I could do to pull the little tart shells out then and there.  They smelled divine!  Instead, I waved the palm of my hand in front of the oven door towards my nose to breathe in all the pastry goodness.

I was not surprised at the glorious aroma.  I was baking a variation of pâte sablée; the most rich and flavourful French short pastry.

The Roux Brothers reference two pâte sablée recipe versions in Roux Brothers on Patisserie.  Both are made with flour, butter, egg yolks and icing (confectioners) sugar.  But one also substitutes some flour for ground almonds.  This variation reminded me of a lovely berry tart using a pistachio (instead of almond) dough in my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.  With pastry month in full swing, there was no time like the present.

This tart was melt-in-your-mouth good.  The pâte sablée pastry has a delicate crisp and crumbly texture.  The sweet, buttery-ness of the pastry pairs well with the slightly sharp and tangy crème fraiche filling.  A hint of summer bursts through with a perfect finish of strawberries on top.

Perfect tart.  Perfect day.

{ Strawberry and Pistachio Tarts } Adapted from Martha Stewart

* Ingredients *
All purpose flour, for dusting
7 oz or 200g crème fraiche
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
8 oz or 240g fresh strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
Pistachio Tart dough

* Directions *
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 6mm (1/4 in) thickness. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour.  With a 15cm (6 in) dessert plate as a guide, use a sharp knife to cut out eight rounds, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Fit dough rounds into eight tart rings, pressing into the edges. Chill for 10 minutes. Using a sharp paring knife, trim dough flush with the top edge of each ring. Refrigerate the shells until well chilled, about 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180C or 375 F. Line shells with parchment, leaving a little overhang. Fill with pie weights. Bake until edges are just beginning to turn light golden, about 15 mins. Remove parchment and weights; continue baking until surface is light golden all over, about 6 mins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. After 10 minutes, remove pastry from the rings.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine crème fraiche, cream and sugar.  Whisk until soft peaks form.  Using an offset spatula, spread mixture into cooled tartlet shells. Arrange strawberries and pistachios on top. Serve immediately.

Makes eight 10cm (4 in) tartlets or one 35x10cm (14 x 4 in) tart

{ Pistachio Tart Dough }

* Ingredients *
1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
2 large egg yolks
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios, finely ground
2 tsp heavy cream

* Directions *
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and icing (confectioners) sugar on a low speed until combined, about 2 mins. Add egg yolks and mix until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add 1 cup flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add remaining ¼ cup flour, pistachios, salt and cream and mix until flour is no longer visible. Wrap tightly using plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hr or overnight.

{ A few tips … }

Pâte sablée is a little tricky and delicate to work with due to its high butter content.  It is an extremely soft dough. 

1. If baking in summer, or in a hot climate, regularly pop the dough on a baking tray covered with the plastic wrap and chill for 10-15 minutes.  I have also had success rolling out similar pastry dough between plastic wrap.  See tips here :: { Linzer cookies }
2. Ensure you do not roll out the dough too thin as it can be fragile when baked.
3. If you have trouble rolling out the dough, simply press it gently into your pan.

Mille Feuille

It was not long after I met my partner that we took a mini trip to Victoria.  It was a post-Christmas getaway.  We spent a few days travelling around the majestic Great Ocean Road taking in the amazing Twelve Apostles, then we travelled to Mornington Peninsular visiting a number of wineries and picking some local grown strawberries, and then settled back to Melbourne to ring in the New Year.

There was one pastry pit stop along the way.  My partner is quite partial to the Vanilla Slice – Mille Feuille or Napoleon, if you wish.  In my pre-travel research, I stumbled across a number of references to the ‘best vanilla slice in Victoria’.  It was a bold claim.  It was being made about Just Fine Foods Delicatessen(23 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento, Victoria).

Seeing we were in the area, we needed to sample this custard pastry to see what all the fuss was about.  It was worth the visit.  Lovely crispy layers of pastry contained a light, creamy custard. It was delicious.

Since that trip to Victoria, I had not thought much about Vanilla Slice.  Until reaching ‘pastry month’.  Given I would have a more than willing taste tester by my side, I decided to make my own Mille Feuille.

I filled my Mille Feuille with a simple vanilla pastry cream, crème pâtissière, then topped with the traditional glaze and pattern.  This dessert exaggerated the buttery-ness of my homemade puff pastry.  In a good way.  The puff pastry flavour and texture was quite unadulterated with only the simple addition of pastry cream between the layers.  There was no hiding!

It was very rich, but totally mouth-watering – and it all went in a flash.

{ Mille Feuille }

* Ingredients *
450g or 1lb puff pastry
1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon cocoa
Basic pastry cream

* Directions *
Make the pastry cream and set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Roll out puff pastry to 30 x 30 cm square (12 x 12 inch square).  Cut into 3 strips at 30 x 10 cm (or 12 x 4 in).  Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F or 200C. Place the pastry on the lined tray. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Top the pastry with another sheet of baking paper and another baking tray and bake for a further 6-8 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, butter and milk to make the glaze.  Once you have reached a spreadable but firm consistency, remove 1/4 of the glaze to a separate bowl.  To that, add the cocoa powder.  Add a drop more milk if necessary.  Transfer the cocoa glaze to a small piping bag.

Spread the white glaze on top of one of the cooled pastry strips.  Spread evening.  Then pipe the chocolate across gently from side to side. Lightly drag a wooden toothpick down the length of the pastry, in alternating directions, to create the pattern.

Spread the pastry cream over the remaining two pastry strips, creating layers of pastry, pastry and then glaze.  Chill for 30 minutes.  Use a large serrated knife cut the pastry into portions and then serve immediately.

Serves 5-6

{ Basic Pastry Cream }

* Ingredients *
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup cornflour

* Directions *
In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. (Never let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.)  Add the cornflour to the egg mixture until you get a smooth paste.  Set aside.

Meanwhile in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.  Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture.

Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly.  When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.

Remove from heat and pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming.  Cool.  If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.  Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Makes 1 ½ cups

Tarte Tatin

I could not let anything distract me.  I needed to dedicate Saturday with the challenge.  I was prepared for the time consuming (but hopefully rewarding!) task ahead.  I was about to tackle the most difficult pastry of pastry monthPâte feuilletée, or puff pastry.

The basic premise for puff pastry is folding chilled butter (“butter block”) within a base dough (“la détrempe”).  This is then folded and rolled a number of times (“turns”) to create hundreds upon hundreds of layers.  These layers provide the puff.  As the pastry cooks, the water within each layer of butter evaporates into steam.  This pushes up the layers of détrempe to create a very flaky pastry.

For my very first puff pastry effort, I reached for my Roux Brothers on Patisserie reference.  Michel and Albert Roux include a puff pastry recipe by their friend Jean Millet, the president of the Confédération de la Patisserie, Confiserie, Glacerie de France and MOF in patisserie.  I knew I would be in good hands.

When reviewing the recipe, my eye wandered to the subsequent page.  Here was the recipe for Quick Puff Pastry, Feuilletage Minute.  After a brief review of the directions, I uncovered that the quick method skipped the “butter block”, opting instead to work cubed butter into the flour at the beginning.  It also skipped a number of “turns”.

I thought about it a few times.  I really did.  I thought about it seriously.  But almost as soon as I considered the option, I dismissed it.  If I were going to attempt puff pastry, it may as well be the whole butter-blocking, full-6-turning, palm-aching-from-all-the-rolling effort kind.

From beginning to end this pastry took close to six hours.  And I will not lie, it really felt like six hours.  But the result?  Without hesitation, it was definitely worth the time.  The resulting puff pastry had all the characteristic buttery goodness you want, plus it was incredibly lip smackingly flaky!

I asked my partner what desserts he would enjoy from my puff pastry, pâte feuilletée, adventures.  First request?  Tarte Tatin.  I have made Tarte Tatin before, but never with my own homemade puff pastry.  I hoped we would be in for a treat.  We were.

Tarte Tatin (set)

{ Feuilletage Jean Millet :: Jean Millet’s Puff Pastry }

* Ingredients *
500g / 1 lb flour
200ml / 8 fl oz water
12g / 1 ¾ tsp salt
25ml / 1 fl oz white wine vinegar
50g / 2 oz butter melted
400g / 14 oz butter, well chilled

* Directions *
To form the détrempe, put all the ingredients up to the chilled butter into a stand mixer.  Mix well until completely homogenous but not too firm.  Turn the détrempe out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times by hand, rounding it into a ball. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and chill for 2-3 hours or overnight.

To roll in the butter, first prepare the softened butter by placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the softened butter into a rectangle.  It is important that the détrempe and butter be of almost equal consistency.  If necessary, allow the détrempe to sit at room temperature to soften or chill the butter briefly to harden.

On a lightly floured board, roll the détrempe into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 15 inches (30 centimetres by 37.5 centimetres).  Lift and rotate the dough as necessary to prevent sticking.  Position the butter in the centre of the rectangle and remove the remaining plastic. Fold the four edges of the détrempe over the butter enclosing it completely. Stretch the dough if necessary; it is important that none of the butter be exposed.  Chill for 30 minutes.

On a well floured surface, roll out the dough to an even rectangle of approximately 8 inches by 24 inches (20 cm by 60 cm).

Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter.  This is the first turn.  Give the rectangle a one quarter turn and again progressively roll it gently away from you to approximately 8 inches by 24 inches (20 cm by 60 cm).   Fold the dough into 3.  This is the second turn.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Repeat the rolling and folding technique until the dough has had a total of six turns. Do not perform more than two turns without a resting and chilling period. Cover the dough completely and chill overnight before shaping and baking.

Yield: 1.2kg or 2.5 lb

{ Tarte Tatin }

* Ingredients *
3 Apples
1 cup sugar
65g or ½ stick of butter, cut into cubes
Squeeze of lemon juice
250g puff pastry, cut into 20cm / 8 in circle, chilled

* Directions *
Preheat oven to 200C or 400F.  Butter a pie plate or cast iron skillet well.  Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters.  Place the sugar, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water into a small saucepan.  Heat gently under the sugar caramelises and is a light-golden brown.  Pour the sugar into your dish and quickly add the butter to melt.  Add the apple, cut side up.  Place over the pastry, gently pushing into the apples.  Place the plate or skillet on a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden. Remove from oven and carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate.

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