February 28, 2011

Tasty rough puff pastry broccoli & bacon quiche


Not too long ago, I read a recipe by Dan Lepard of a quiche with a very flaky pastry. At first I thought it was the usual shortcrust pastry though laminated as if it were puff pastry. Looking into it I realised it was a rough (quick, we call it here) puff pastry but substituting some of the usual iced water in the recipe for other "liquids", namely milk and yolks. Funny that whenever I want puff pastry (which is not too often for the tedious work and time it takes) I make it from scratch. The proper, long way I mean, inserting the butter inside the dough,  with it's up to 6 simple turns (or less depending on the amount of butter for proper lamination)... But since school I haven't used rough puff pastry! (I didn't even remember doing it). So, I was curious, I was sure the so-called " rough puff" wouldn't rise properly to give the delicate crispy layers of the "real" thing. But, had to try it...

Since, I've played around for quite a few times after some research on books, old notes, etc. though it almost worked from the first try! I was sooo amazed the first time I watched reluctant how it cooked in the oven, when it a matter of minutes it puffed up as if it were a perfectly laminated proper puff pastry!! Honestly, the results are wonderful!!!In less than half the time (much less, actually) you get a puff pastry that tastes better than any store-bought one (assuming you use proper, decent quality butter). Butter is what makes it heavenly... Other than it's flavour, mainly because it melts at lower than body temperature, so you get a clean mouth feel, whereas nasty hydrogenated fats in the form of margarines (so overused here in all industrial viennoiserie) melt at higher temperatures, which makes them easier to work with but result in a waxy, sticky mouth-feel. So, considering this quick puff pastry uses 1: 1 parts flour: butter (the maximum you ever use for puff pastry itself) imagine how delicious it is!!!!! (ok, ok, I am aware of the calories or saturated fats, but you don't use that much per portion, plus, did you know trans-fats in hydrogenated oils actually ends up raising the amount of bad fatty acids in the blood?) So...I am totally for: use real butter! ;)

About the filling, I love broccoli and the small touch of bacon makes it super tasty! Believe me, we made this in class and even those not veggie-friendly absolutely loved it! For the quiche cream I often use fresh cream rather than milk for a creamier result (more like crème brulée rather than flan) but it can feel too dense sometimes. So, this time I've substituted some for sour cream with excellent results. The truth is that there's not much quiche cream in the quiche as it is packed with the broccoli itself which takes up most of the space, so the setting cream merely acts as a binder, but with the touch of sour cream, or it could all be crème fraîche, it gives a still creamy but lighter feel. I hope you enjoy the quiche, and specially that you learn to make this simple but awesome pastry for any other uses you like! I will attempt to guide you as best I can though the process of achieving that heavenly crispy & flaky rough puff pastry (thanks Dan for the inspiration!).

Rough puff pastry broccoli & bacon quiche

(For 1x 24cm round quiche mould)

For the rough puff pastry:

    75g of medium strong flour (I used a w225 one)

    75g of plain flour*

    1/2 tsp of lemon juice (or cream of tartar)**

    150g of frozen butter (cut in 2 cm cubes)

    75g of ice-cold water

    pinch of salt

For the filling:

   1 small broccoli

   1 small onion

   2 cloves of garlic  

   80g bacon

   salt & freshly ground pepper

   125g of grated Arzúa Ulloa or tetilla cheese***

   100g of sour cream

   200g of fresh cream

   3 medium eggs

* I've tried making it just with plain flour and works almost equally as well. With a bit of strong flour, it puffs slightly better as the extra gluten helps make the dough layers more resistant. But on the other hand, it may take longer to make as needs extra rests to relax!

**The acid gives the dough a bit extra elasticity to make stretching easier. But it's not that important at all.

***I've used these spanish creamy cheeses that melt very well with a fresh lactic flavour, but use any cheese that melts well that you like.

To begin with the puff pastry, it is important to have all ingredients (well, water and butter ice-cold!).
Cut the butter in small cubes (my butter comes in a round metallic can, so I scooped it chunks) and place it in the freezer, so it stays firm as you roll out and laminate the dough. It's also worth a note, that the smaller the butter cubes, the quicker the lamination process, as less turns are needed, but the resulting pastry is not as flaky as that with larger chunks that makes longer layers.

Mix the frozen butter into the flour and salt (I sift it, but it's not really necessary)



Then add the iced water, if you haven't placed it in the freezer, the best it to add ice-cubes to it and either weight it when cold or if confident add as needed. If you weigh it, do not add all of it at one, as although it will probably be around right, different flours have different hydrations and it may need less, as we don't want a sticky dough...

In fact, at the begining it will look like a rough dry mass that just clumps together, as we laminate it (roll out & fold) it will smoothen up to a soft velvety dough. Soooo, just make sure the ingredients do hold together, if not add more water. Take a look at the ROUGH initial pastry on the first left picture.

I like to place a piece of parchment paper or film underneath at the beginning, as since the pastry is so crumbly at the begining, the paper or film can be folded over to help making the turns without the dough breaking.

Take into account that chunks of butter (even though ice-cold at the beginning) so not melting, as spread in betweet the dough, so as we work and the butter softens, it sticks. So USE FLOUR, it helps a lot spreading a thin layer now and then on both sides to make rolling out easier and clean, so the layers that form stay whole and don't break.

Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle about 3 times longer in length. With the help of the parchment underneath, start the first simple turn, folding the bottom third of the rectangle over the middle one and then the top one over it. First turn, done!

Time for the 2nd turn, which if the butter was frozen, no doubt you can do straight away. Turn the dough 90º to the right first.

We are aiming to start shaping a decent rectangle to get clean borders, so to get an even stretching, it helps to press with the rolling pin to make the folds stick together from either side. I softly punch it down with the rolling pin parallel to it in both directions (do you see the indentations), then stretching out is a piece of cake. Remember to keep both sides lightly floured so no chunks are stuck; I generously flour and with a soft hand spread it and remove excess for a velvety touch. Also, to strech in both ways evenly, start from the center to either side, come back and repeat towards the other side. Do you see it smoother?

Repeat as before for the 2nd turn.

If you can go on because the dough isn't too elastic, and the butter is still firm, go on, but most likely you will have to let the pastry rest in the fridge or freezer for a bit to handle. If it's just because the butter is softer, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, but if you find it springs back, rest for about 20 minutes or more in the fridge (when making puff pastry usually an indentation per turn given to the dough is made on one corner to know where you are at, if you feel you may forget, do it). 

Then, proceed as before, 90º turn to the right, stretch out (you can tell the butter still shows a lot and make the 3rd turn and go onto the 4th and last. If you find that even after the 4th turn, the layer of butter is really visible, it may be a good idea to give it a 5th turn, otherwise in the oven the thick layer of butter will make it ooze out as it heats up! On the other hand, if after 3 turns, you find it's barely visible, it may be enough, you probably cut it up small, as we don't want the separate dough & butter layers to blend together, so too many folds may be counterproductive!)

Here's the ready dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for a while or if you feel it's firm enough stretch to the thickness & shape you want to lay on the mould (about 5min is good).

Grease lightly the mould and place the stretched out pastry over leaving the edges overhanging. Place in the fridge or even better, in the freezer to get the puff pastry really cold, that way, when it is placed in the oven the cold butter takes longer to melt and gives more time for the dough to cook and evaporate water which is what causes the puffing as layers separate.

When it is hard, place a wrinkled up piece of parchment that gets up to the top of the borders and fill generously with legumes or rice or metal weights, with a scizzor cut the excess out leaving some dough still slightly over the top, otherwise it falls down during baking and you end up with no borders!!

For the filling (which you can start in between turns of the pastry, though I've shown it all together for ease of understanding) separate the brocoli florets from the stem.

Most people throw away the delicious stem, don't!! I remove the tough fibrous outside like for the artichokes. Cut through the top but not until the end, and then pull, you'll see how it comes out to show exactly which part is tough as it separates very easily!

Cook the florets and stem bits separately for only two minutes on abundant boiling salted water and cool with cold water or an ice bath to keep them vibrant green!

Cut the onion in brunoise and chop the garlic finely and slow-fry until it begins to soften. Add the finely diced bacon (I like it first sliced thin and then chopped small so it gets golden and crispier on the edges) and continue until lightly coloured. It should get a nice golden hue, otherwise it won't taste as nice!

Remove from the heat and when cooler mix in with the brocoli and season to taste.

 For the cream, mix both sour & fresh cream with the eggs beating lightly and keep aside without seasoning until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 180-200ºC (depends on the oven). It should be fairly hot the first 5 minutes so the dough cooks faster rather than give time for the butter to slowly melt away. Blind bake the dough for about 20-25 minutes with the weighs in (the first 5 minutes at 200ºC then lower to 180ºC) and then remove them so the bottom cooks as well so it will end up crispy too! Make sure to PINCH all the surface with the tip of a brochette, a knife or a fork, so the pastry doesn't puff up, because it will want to, believe me!! Check in the oven and if you see it rises, pinch it down!

Lower the oven to 160ºC. Fill the bottom with a thin layer of grated cheese, this will impermeabilise the dough a bit, so it doesn't get soggy. Arrange the broccoli and bacon & onion mixture nicely over. Season your cream & egg mix with salt and pepper and pour over right up to the top. My mould is fairly low, so you can see the broccoli florets show a lot and there's no need for much cream. If your mould is higher, prepare about 100 ml more of cream filling. 

Place back in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes until light golden, puffed and when pierced with a brochette, it comes out clean. Remove from the oven to cool.

I like it warm out of the oven, but if you want a proper set, it's best to leave it to rest a few hours or up to the next day and if the puff pastry isn't as crispy return it to a moderately hot oven (180ºC) for a little while.

Can you tell how nice the pastry is?...super flaky & crispy!

And underneath, nicely cooked:

How about a slice?


Colette said...

I've had a terrible day with the computer. It just crashed!!!!We managed to recover some info,but it still doesn't work...so no Windows Live Writer!!!after 5hours with formatting problems i manage to publish director through Blogger (it's been hell to download all photos!),but on my phone the format is a mess!!!so if it's looking funny...i'll fix it whenever I get a chance!

Anonymous said...

WOW, pues incluso con los problemas con el pc las fotos son estupendas y suuperapetitosas!! mail me an slice, please!! espero que hayas conseguido resolver los problemas con el portatil...y guarda un pedazo a tu padre para animarle la rodila :-P

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