Not a very good way to start this post would be by saying that I’m not fond of puff pastry. Just something about the flakes that scatter when I bite into it and then proceed to stick to my lips when I pull away. Ultimately, I keep wiping myself after every bite.
And this has kept me away from freshly-made croissants and cream puffs. I only eat the stale ones. Less flakes.
And all this hostility towards puff pastry, till I made it myself last week.
Well, being the lazy big-buttocks that I am, I had never imagined having the patience to roll, pat and fold over and over again. But I did. And yes, I could go on about how I achieved a sense of accomplishment and yada yada yada. But I didn’t. To say that the pastry I made went on to become lovely flaky chutney tarts, would be a lie.
After all the hard work, sweat and toil and unlimited glances at the recipe did not result in success. The first batch did not rise and came out half-cooked and soggy…sort of like sad deflated bread slices. It can’t get any worse, I thought foolishly as I raised the temperature hoping the even hotter air would make it rise. Then the second batch came out. Brown and burnt to a crisp with an even under-cooked center.
So I gave up. I went to the store and bought ready-rolled puff-pastry sheets. And no, I’m not ashamed of it. All you with your noses turned up can stick it really, because, the next time I’m trying my hand at puff pastry would be if I’m in either one of the following situations:
1) my children, off-springs of my own flesh and blood, request me to make some, or
2) someone has a gun pointed at my head.
That’s it for now. If you want a really good puff-pastry making guide try Keiko’s recipe.
Tomato & Pineapple Chutney
500 gm of tomatoes, diced
1 pineapple, diced
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/2 cup of honey
Pinch of salt
5 crushed cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of sultanas
Combine everything in a deep-bottomed pan and put on low heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes till the fruits have started breaking down. Add 1 cup of water. Raise the heat to medium. Cover and cook till the mixtures starts resembling a chutney, i.e., all the fruit has turned into mush and a thick syrup has formed. Take the cover off, and boil on high heat till most of the moisture boils off. Cool and serve with or after meals, especially Indian ones. Great on toast or cream-crackers as a snack…or just by itself, straight from the fridge. Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days covered with cling film.
For the tarts:
Store-bought puff-pastry sheet, either ready-rolled or in a block
1 egg, lightly beaten
Tomato & Pineapple Chutney
Peanuts or Toasted Almonds or Pistachios, slivered or roughly chopped, to garnish
Lightly whipped double cream , to garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Line a tray with baking parchment or greased aluminum foil. Cut the sheets into rectangular tart-sizes. I can get about 8 pieces out of one sheet. Make a grooved border all around, about 1/2 an inch away from the edges. Use a pastry brush to brush the borders with the beaten egg. Lay the tarts on the tray. Arrange the chutney, or strawberries on the inside of the egg-washed edges and bake in the oven till the pastry is all puffed-up and the edges are a crispy golden colour. It takes about 18-20 minutes. Serve immediately topped with the nuts or with lightly whipped cream.