Sotsil

Jealousy or…Jalousie? August 9, 2009

jalousie5 I experienced pangs of jealousy when the jalousie recipe I made a couple of months ago didn’t turn out to be as “handsome” as the one in the book.  This pastry-jalousie recipe is taken from The World Encyclopedia of Cheese by Juliet Harbutt and Roz Danny (2002, ISBN: 0-7548-0992-7).  If you’re expecting hungry visitors and you want to “fill em up” with a homemade concoction, this will work well as it allows you to do other things (like tidy up the patio and arrange some flowers) while it bakes in the oven.

Although I wasn’t too thrilled with the physical appearance – blame it on my faulty braiding – this pastry jalousie over-delivered in terms of taste.  I was delighted with how the leeks, cream cheese and ham came together as an incredibly tasteful mixture(bang for your discriminating taste buds). The recipe called for chicken, but ham can be substituted for the chicken.

How do you define jalousie?  Harbutt and Danny call it a “family-sized lattice pastry with a mild, creamy filling.”  They add, “a good choice for informal entertaining.”

Make it, maybe yours will come out much better than mine!

Ingredients:

3-3-1/2 pounds of cooked chicken (I used 3 cups of smoked ham)

2 large stalks of leeks, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbsp butter

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

7 ounces low-fat cream cheese

grated rind of 1 lemon

3 tbsp chopped parsley

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 beaten egg

salt and pepper to taste

fresh herbs (to garnish)

Procedure:

1. Cube or chop your ham, slice your mushrooms and prepare your lemon rind.  Set aside.

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2. Saute the leeks and garlic in butter – about 10 minutes.  Then add your mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool.

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3.  Add the cream cheese, lemon rind, parsley salt and pepper.  When mixture is cold, add your ham.

4.  Roll out your pastry one on top of the other and knead into a large rectangle (about 14 x 10 inches).  Transfer your pastry into a non-stick baking sheet, or cushion with parchment paper.

5.  Spoon the filling into the center of the pastry, leaving 4 inches on each side (this is to allow you to make the 1-inch cuts in preparation for the braiding).

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6.  Make diagonal cuts along the side of the pastry and then take each cut and fold it over the pastry, alternating left and right.  (At this point you can pre-heat oven to 400 F).  When you’ve covered the entire filling and folded over the last cut, brush the pastry with egg.

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7. Bake your pastry for 15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another 15 minutes.  Your pastry should be ready when it has turned a golden rich brown.  Leave it on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before sliding it into a serving platter. 

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Garnish with parsley or your favorite herb.  Keeps well in the fridge for next day leftovers, the flavor becoming more intense.

Definitely a “you can’t go wrong” dish.  You’ll want to do it again after the first try, especially if you’re the type who wants to do a perfect braid like me!

 

Exciting Puff Pastry Video Lesson May 17, 2009

Filed under: Tip of the Day — sotsil @ 5:22 pm
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Making puff pastry is one of those culinary activities that makes our heart go rub-a-dub-dub.  When it doesn’t come out the way it should, it erodes our confidence in our baking skills.  Let’s admit it, a perfect puff pastry takes practice – tons of practice.  Several things to consider:

  • the butter must never be allowed to melt; the dough must not absorb the moisture from the butter
  • you need to fold it about 6 times and let it sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes each time
  • the result must be light and flaky without that heavy butter taste
  • total working time:  an hour and a half – for a small quantity (6 hours for larger batches)

I was enchanted with this YouTube video lesson because the chef – Vah-Reh-Vah was so engaging.  He goes into detail and entertains viewers with his step-by-step procedure.  You can tell he loves what he does.  He said that in India it’s a bit more difficult to produce puff pastry because of the weather.  The chefs don’t use butter; instead they use chilled margarine.

Watch this video.  I guarantee you’ll learn, you’ll smile, and you’ll be inspired to start making puff pastry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9sE0cisM58.