puff pastry with bacon and cheese and chipotle in adobo

puff pastry biscuits with cheese and bacon and chipotle in adobo

How I love this because it combines my favorite things. It takes my cheese crackers and elevates them to a whole 'nuther level of elegance. If you decide to make these for a party, then go ahead and make them but put them away least there be nothing left for guests.

Seen on Lucy's Kitchen Notebook. Lucy is an American ex-pat living in Lyon, France. She's actually a bit more of a foodie than the French themselves generally and that's saying a lot. She tells a story of when commercial puff pastry was first introduced but not yet readily available. She quickly learned to distinguish and appreciate the difference between commercial and hand-made puff pastry and yearned for something better. She learned from a friend that she could buy a better product from the local bakery ready to use in her home creations and left commercial feuiletée behind. At a family gathering through some mistranslation it was passed around the party that she prepared the pastry herself from scratch for an apero she brought to the party. She says the guilt was so horrible she wanted to gather everybody to the center of the room and announce she did not fold the puff herself. She's hilarious. Then she lived with the tremendous burden of fraud for years following. Ha ha ha. That kills me. The years have taught her to forgive herself. But she resolved to master puff pastry without making a big deal about chilling the ingredients after pounding butter between each layer after tedious layer. This method takes advantage of one of several available shortcuts, and I must say the result is positively addictive. It's totally diet-worthy too, if your diet is for an underweight teenager still growing in search of calorie-dense meals in an attempt to add bulk.

Lucy emphasizes the reason this tastes better than anything you can buy is simple -- the butter. Commercial enterprises, even bakeries naturally seek ways to control costs. Use the best butter you have available and that will translate to extraordinary taste. Much better than anything you could possibly buy, and when it comes to providing hospitality to the polite people of California, Colorado, Arizona, and North Carolina and Ohio, and Lyon, the food cognoscenti will know.

Lucy calls this Feuilletage, Cheese and Bacon Biscuits. Feuillet = leaf.

Here's Lucy's recipe:

a) Keep everything cold, but do not bother to chill between layers.
b) Select butter with some care. Any butter will be better than the strange combination of non-butter chemicals used in commercial puff pastry, but you're in for a real treat by choosing an excellent unsalted butter.
c) Start to finish 10 minutes.
d) Good with Champagne or beer
e) Combine:

1) 125 g. A/P flour
2) 140 g. butter
3) large pinch of salt
4) large chipotle pepper in adobo (Comes in tiny cans. Use just one large chile or a few small ones. Not the whole can.)
5) few slices of thick bacon
6) 30 g. sharp cheese like cheddar
7) 30 g. Swiss cheese like Emmenthal
8) 60 g. VERY COLD water by weight.

You know what? This makes a decent batch but hardly enough. Let's go ahead and double it. In Avoirdupois this time. Avoirdupois, man, that irony sure can be ironic.

1) 9 oz. flour. This is a little over two cups by volume. More flour is used for the work surface that gets incorporated between the layers, it's part of what adds to the flake, flake, flakiness.
2) 10 oz. butter. This is a little over one cup by volume. You'll notice, by weight slightly more butter than flour.
3) 1/2 teaspoon salt. This assumes you're using unsalted butter.
4) 2 large chipotle chiles in adobe or up to six small ones, finely diced.
5) 5 or 6 thick slices of bacon, fried crisp and finely chopped.
6) 2-3 oz. sharp cheddar
7) 2-3 oz. Swiss cheese
8) 1/2 cup near-freezing cold water

As usual, rapidly rub cold butter into salted flour. Use a machine if you want, but why bother? It's fun to just smash the butter with your fingertips and coat each smashed particle with flour. Keep doing that until the butter is thoroughly combined into the butter and the flour is totally butterfied. Shred the cheese and add that too. Combine completely. Add most of the water, reserving about 1/4. Combine without kneading the flour until the water is evenly distributed. Keep adding the water until the mass comes together but not beyond. Use your dough-making judgment here along with a little common sense.

Roll out the dough mass on a generously floured work surface into a rectangle to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness. Fold in thirds and roll flat again. Fold in thirds and roll flat again. That's twice. Do that twice again. Just for fun. Do it again. Finally, roll into a rectangle again. Spread the bacon and the chipotle evenly across the surface. Roll up one edge traveling across the flattened mass into a log shape. Cut the log into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart (I use parchment paper or Silpat). Bake at 400°F until brown.

No comments:

Blog Archive