I’ve been playing with an idea on and off for the past few months of how to make flat, round pastries and was finally confident enough to show them off to my extended family at a party on new years day. By popular demand (it’s not often I get to say this to the internet: Hai Mum!) this is how I did it.
The idea came to me when I was making some Maki rolls last autumn. What if I used pastry instead of rice and seaweed with my bamboo rolling mat, it seemed a pretty obvious method, but I hadn’t spotted it in my recipe books.
This method is quite flexible, it’s easy to half or double either the number or the size of the finished pastries just use half the pastry and rotate it accordingly on your mat. I like making a half quantity of full sized pastries and use the 2nd half of the packet of pastry for mince pies.
One full packet of pastry makes about 18 3 inch pastries.
Packet of readymade puff pastry
500g stewed apples
A fully sharp knife
Magic non-stick baking sheet
First you need to prepare your apples. I did a batch last autumn when apples were in glut, just simmer down the apples with a generous amount of cinnamon sticks and perhaps an inch or two of candied brown sugar if needed until you’ve got a nice paste. Get the apples back to room temperature. Mine was frozen and defrosted in time, yours might need half an hour to cool off.
Start with thinly rolling out the puff pastry, such that it’s about twice the area of your bamboo mat.
Put the pastry onto the mat and very thinly spread half of your apple over the top.
If you want full sized pastries, carefully fold over the pastry and spread the other half of the apple on top of that. If you prefer more bite sized pastries then don’t fold.
Use the mat to tightly roll it up, trying to keep it as round as possible.
The tricky part is to cut the roll up into about 1cm slices. I gave my knife a proper sharpening with my whetstones before I did this and rinse the knife every 2 or 3 slices to keep it clean and as non-stick as possible. It doesn’t matter too much if you squash them a little, physics should fix that in the oven if you rolled it tightly enough, but you do need to get them as flat as possible.
Place your slices onto a non-stick baking parchment. I use a PTFE based ‘cookasheet’ from Toastabags and it’s utterly magic, the pastries just lift off and it just wipes clean. Beats my Teflon baking tray or greaseproof paper any day.
Bake them in a 180 C oven for about 15 minutes, until the pastry has puffed and is just starting to turn gold. The hope is that the pastry puffs up equally on all sides by a factor of about 3, pushing the pastry into a circle. If, like me, you didn’t get the rolling or the apple quite uniform enough, you wind up with distortion.
Whilst they’re cooling, make up some icing. I’m always surprised by how little water you need with icing sugar. Make the icing reasonably sticky, the idea is that it melts ever so slightly from the heat as the pastries cool.
Decorate with half a glace cherry or a slice of stem ginger.
Putting them into a large tub and driving them 140 miles to a biased audience is entirely optional 🙂