13 March 2009
I decided I wanted to make hand-pies the right way, and that meant learning how to make puff pastry. It was time consuming but actually not very hard. This is because I am the lucky owner of a vintage butter shaver. This tool enables me to shave butter into tiny slivers while it is still frozen- and it remains frozen. Frozen butter is essential to any crust that you want to be flaky. Every ingredient should be cold, some say even the flour should be chilled (control freaks/perfectionists) for a truly flaky texture. If you have a Cuisinart then you can use that instead of the butter shaver and probably save a lot of arm energy (the ancient tool I have requires great strength and stamina, two things I regrettably lack). But anyway, I made the dough properly, learned all about folding and turning it, and then rolled it out and filled it with strawberry rhubarb preserves that I made last spring! I felt like I was cheating on spring by having rhubarb so early, but since it was legit from last spring I am forgiving myself for jump-starting the season. I also made little sugar and cinnamon twists for the little babies that live down stairs from me- they loved them.
I did not do a photo essay the way that this awesome baker did, but you should take a look at her blog and watch the little video to understand the puff pastry process- and then you should DO IT! I did it on a cold day when I could rest the dough outside- keeping it cold is important! I'll say it again! Keep the fucking dough cold!
Anyway. Aside from baking pastries for babies and thinking about summer, I've been working a lot of private parties for groups of doctors. This is something I find very interesting because I feel like I am getting insider information. For example, last night I learned how many injections must be made into the areola after breast augmentation surgery to keep the nipple looking real. Last week I learned about depression. I often want to ask questions during the lectures, but have learned that they don't like that. They want to eat their salads and look at slides of the uterus, without comments from the waitress or supporting staff. But last night, the lecturer, asked ME questions, and I had to tell him to stop. He was in the business of facial reconstruction, and he was looking at my face. I told him he was making me paranoid, and he said he that he gets that a lot.