Monday, November 16, 2009

Throwin' High and Wide with Confidence: The Steve Sax Syndrome & Pastry Dough Revised

In the past, I've written about my ineptness when it comes to baking pastries. I'm fine with yeast, flour, water, and a little salt, but when I invite butter and sugar to the party, I end up looking like a fool. And we all know that it's not cool to be a fool.

My wife and I plan on running a bed and breakfast when we retire, and since running a B & B without pastries would like be running a bar with beer, I need to become somewhat skilled in the butter and sugar department. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources out there to help me hone my skills. Last year Marilyn over at Simmer Till Done introduced me to Carole Walter, who wrote the amazing book Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins, & More.
This book should be part of every cook's library. It's the first book that made me comfortable working with pastry dough. I used 1/2 of the dough to make the Apple-Almond Braid posted over at Simmer Till Done. Then later I pulled the remaining dough from the freezer for my first attempt at rugelach. Tomorrow, I'll post that experience and recipe.

A Simple, Buttery Pastry Dough

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spoon in and leveled, plus additional for kneading and rolling the dough
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  1. I large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar,s alt and baking powder. Set aside.

  2. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix on medium-low speed until smooth. Blend int he butter in four additions, mixing until smooth.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sour cream, and then blend into the butter mixture. The mixture will look separated. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.

  4. With he mixer off, add about one-third of the flour mixture. On low speed, mix until blended. Add the remaining flour in two more additions. Be sure to not overmix.

  5. Remove the bowl from the machine and empty the dough onto a lightly flour pastry board. With floured hands, knead until smooth. Divide the dough in half, dust with flour, and shape each half into a 3 1/2 x 5-inch rectangle. Cover each piece tight in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a t least 4 hour or up to 3 days. You may also free this dough up to three months.
take care,

1 comment:

Jenni said...

I love to bake, I'm just not entirely comfortable with things that have to be kneaded, punched down, and left to rise. One of the very few things I've made with yeast is the Pioneer Woman cinnamon roll recipe. (It's on her website and in her cookbook.) That was fairly easy, so I may try something else soon.

Hey, you mentioned somewhere a long time ago that you mostly read books to recommend to your students. What grade do you teach? Got any recommendations? I have a reluctant reader here and I'm drowning in middle school fiction. The books for that age group that I would recommend are not books in which she's the slightest bit interested.