In the Kitchen
We make just about everything from scratch in our catering kitchen - but two main exceptions are puff pastry and meat stock. We use large quantities of both products and, as they involve several processes, they are very time-consuming to make. It was difficult to keep up with demand, and fortunately we are able to buy excellent versions of both.
For the slice today you will need puff pastry. This slice is a treat, so go the whole hog or cow, and invest in all-butter puff pastry. Look in the supermarket or specialty food stores for an all-butter version because many brands of puff pastry are made with vegetable fat.
Alternatively, if you are feeling in an artisanal mood and have time on your hands, find a reliable recipe and make your own.
Makes 15 7.5cm x 6cm rectangle slices or 30 smaller triangles
I always loved my mother's currant puff pastry slice, which she and her contemporaries referred to as fly cemetery.
Ingredients 265g puff pastry (preferably all-butter), 1st measure
265g puff pastry (preferably all-butter), 2nd measure
605g (41/3 cups) currants
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
525ml (2 cups + 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp) water, 1st measure
14g (2 Tbsp) cornflour
30ml (2 Tbsp) water, 2nd measure
365g (2) apples, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp blackcurrant jelly (jelly preserve or a dark jelly or jam)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
15ml (1 Tbsp) milk
20g (2 Tbsp) caster sugar
Lightly grease base and sides of a 32cm x 23cm, low-sided baking tray with baking spray or butter.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll first measure of pastry to a 34cm x 25cm rectangle. Gently lift and place into base of prepared tin. Press into base and slightly up the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
Take second measure of pastry and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll to 34cm x 25cm rectangle. This will become the top for the slice. Place on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator.
Place currants, sugar, cinnamon, zest and first measure of water into a saucepan over a medium heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until liquid has reduced but currants are still quite moist.
Place cornflour and second measure of water into a small bowl and mix to combine. Add to saucepan with currants and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until liquid has thickened.
Add apple and blackcurrant jelly. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until apple is just cooked but not mushy. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool.
Preheat oven to 190'C.
Remove prepared pastry base from refrigerator. Trim pastry base so pastry is covering only the base of the tin. Lightly brush base with egg white. Prick all over with a fork.
Evenly spread currant mixture over pastry base.
Place pastry top on currant mixture and trim off excess pastry. Gently press pastry so it adheres to the currant mixture. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Brush pastry top with milk. Liberally prick with a fork. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is cooked and golden brown on top.
Remove from oven and cool.
Using palette knives or slices, lift and slide slice on to a chopping board. Using a serrated-edged knife, trim edges to neaten. Cut short side into three (about 7.5cm intervals) and the long side into five (about 6cm intervals). This will produce 15 rectangles. If you wish, cut each rectangle in half diagonally to make 30 triangles.
Store layered, with baking paper between each layer, in a container with a tightly fitting lid, in refrigerator or pantry for up to five days. Alternatively freeze for up to one month.
Serve at room temperature.
Folding leftover pastry as opposed to rolling it will help to keep the layers in the pastry.
Ingredients 100g leftover puff pastry
15g (2 Tbsp) icing sugar
Roll pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a 4mm thickness.
Cut pastry into 7mm thick strips, 10cm in length and tie strips into loose knots.
Place a small pot over a medium heat and add oil to a depth of 5-6cm. Heat until hot.
Place 3-4 pastry knots into hot oil and cook until pastry is light golden brown.
Using a spider kitchen utensil, remove oreilettes from oil.
Transfer to a tray lined with paper towels.
While oreilettes are still hot, sieve with icing sugar. Serve immediately.
- © Fairfax NZ News