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Perfect Puff Pastry (easy too)

16 Aug

pop-tart, puff pastry, treats, yummy

It all began harmless enough. I was looking at a homemade pop-tart recipe on a popular blog, and it called for puff pastry dough. This was new to me. I had never heard of it, but being the DIY girl I am, I did not heed the blogger’s warning to buy it in the freezer section. Little did I know it was a warning… I hurriedly hastened onto Google to find the perfect recipe. I mean, I wasn’t a novice baker by any means; I could make dough.

It was disastrous. If the Hindenburg had been a pastry dough, mine would have laid waste to not only my kitchen, but probably the block as well. There was all this rolling, and I think I was supposed to fold it, but the butter kept oozing out… Suffice it to say, it was nightmarish. And for once, I carefully followed the recipe without a hint of variation.

When I told my oldest sister about the debacle, her reply was, “I always heard that it was ridiculously hard, and it is just better to buy it from the freezer section.” Aw, now I see.

Well, I decided that I would surrender the pastry for now. Maybe time would bring me more baking skills… then one fateful day, at a library sale, I found Lessons in Gourmet Cooking by Libby Hillman (1963). As I was flipping through, what should I happen upon but “Quick Puff Pastry.” My destiny was sealed…

Quick Puff Pastry

1 lb sweet butter (if you dont have any, go unsalted and add a touch of sugar/honey)

4 cups of flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c water

1/4 c white vinegar

1 egg

1. Place butter in a large bowl. Add flour and salt. Blend together, breaking butter into large clumps.

2. Make a well in the middle, add water, vinegar, and egg. Stir wet ingredients and gradually blend in butter and flour. Combine all lightly for 1 minute. (It’s OK if the mixture may be lumpy, uneven, and somewhat unmixed).

3. Roll mixture back and forth into an oblong shape (messy is OK. It starts to take shape after the first rolling).

4. Fold dough by placing top third over center third. Fold bottom third over center third. There are now 3 layers of dough. Now, like you were closing a book, fold the dough in half right to left, leaving you with 6 layers.

5. Turn the dough around once to the left, and rough again into strip 1/2″ deep. Repeat folding, turning and rolling about 4 times.

6. If at any time the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.

7. After you are done rolling and folding, refrigerate overnight after covering well. Dough can be kept up to 3 weeks in the fridge.


8. Preheat oven to 425 F.

9. Refrigerate formed pastries before baking. It makes them hold the shape better, and the insides are less messy.

10. Brush all pastries with beaten egg.

11. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 375 F the rest of the time. (20 minutes for small. 30 for middle-sized. 40-50 minutes for large.) Dont get tempted to open the oven the first ten minutes!!



Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

6 Aug

I have a love/hate relationship with cinnamon rolls. 3/4 of the time, they could not be more perfect… 1/4 of the time, I could not fail worse if I tried to bake in Siberia without an oven. I would like to attribute this to the fact that I was recently in Idaho, and things just don’t rise the same way they do in Texas. As I continue to bake, I have had less fail attempts and more successes. Either way, this is delicious!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

Delicious holiday cinnamon roll for those who love themes… or pumpkin.

I found this version of the recipe on AllRecipes. I personally do a variation because I am a variation kind of girl, but these are delicious.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 c warm water

2 1/2 tsp yeast

5 oz evaporated milk (makes it sweeter, but just milk will work)

3/4 c white sugar

15 oz mashed pumpkin

3 Tbl olive oil

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp pumpkin spice


1/4 c melted butter

1 1/4 c brown sugar

2 Tbl pumpkin spice

Pumpkin Spice (8 Tbl)

4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp nutmeg

Put warm water in large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let it stand 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is creamy. Stir in milk, sugar, pumpkin, oil and egg. Mix completely, then add pumpkin spice, and slowly mix in flour for a bread dough. Knead until elastic, roll in a ball, and place in slightly oiled bowl. Allow to rise until almost double.

Oven should be heated to 350. Grease a baking pan.

Punch down the dough and shape it roughly into a rectangle. Roll it out to roughly 18×26 inches. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle brown sugar and pumpkin spice mixture over the top. Roll the dough up. Using either a sharp knife or dental floss (my personal favorite), cut the dough, and lay the rolls into the prepared pan.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.


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