Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Little Gianduia Turnovers

I have two questions for you. Have you ever made a “quick” puff pastry? And, have you made homemade gianduia, also known as homemade nutella? I can now highly recommend you try both. At some point a few years ago, I wrote off the possibility of “quick” puff pastry. I had tried a couple of different recipes and ended up with pie crust each time. There were no puffy layers as seen in “real” puff pastry. I decided the “quick” versions were a myth. They didn’t work for me. All of that changed when I gave the concept one more try with this recipe. It’s from the book Canal House Cooks Every Day, and I received a review copy. This is a full-size book full of the same kinds of beautiful and doable, seasonal dishes for which Hamilton and Hirsheimer are famous. I made the Green Lasagne with Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta around the holidays, and the spinach pasta with red sauce was as pretty as it was delicious. There are summery recipes I look forward to tasting like Tomatoes all Dressed Up for Summer with mayonnaise and fresh herbs. And, the photo of the platter of Deviled Eggs with various toppings like smoked salmon, preserved lemon rind, and harissa has inspired me for Easter brunch. But, I have to tell you how the Simple Puff Pastry recipe has changed my life. I’m now a believer. The “quick” version really can work. 

This is vastly faster than making a traditional puff pastry, but it’s still necessary to chill the dough at three points in the process. You start with exactly two ingredients: a stick of butter and a cup of flour. You work the butter into the flour in the same way I usually do for pie dough. Slices of butter are squeezed into the flour and stretched into thin pieces while mixing with your hands. Water is added and worked into the mixture until it holds together. Then, the dough is wrapped and refrigerated for 30 minutes. Next, the fun begins. You roll and fold to begin forming layers of butter. After two times of rolling and folding, the dough was chilled again. Then, rolling and folding is repeated before chilling the dough one last time before using it. I just let my mind wander for a moment over all the possibilities for hors d’oeuvres, tarts, desserts, whathaveyou now that I have this trusted recipe. I’m easily distracted that way. While the puff pastry chilled, I made the filling. I toasted hazelnuts, and I can never find skinned hazelnuts, which means that I toast them and rub off the skins with a towel. The toasted nuts were ground to a paste with a pinch of sugar in the food processor. The hazelnut paste was stirred into a mixture of melted chocolate with cream and butter. After filling all these little turnovers, there will be plenty of gianduia leftover for slathering on toast or eating with a spoon. 

I expected these little pastries to be enjoyable. Buttery dough filled with gianduia couldn’t really be a bad thing. What I didn’t expect was light, airy, puffed, and layered pastry like this. It was completely irresistible. Needless to say, there will be much, much more Simple Puff Pastry in my future. 

Little Gianduia Turnovers 
Recipes reprinted with publisher's permission from Canal House Cooks Every Day.

Makes 8 

We make our own puff pastry and if we’re not using the dough right away, we’ll roll it out, gently fold the sheets into thirds like a business letter, wrap them up, and store them in the freezer so the delicious buttery dough is ready to use at a moment’s notice, relatively speaking. The pastry defrosts in the time it takes to heat up the oven, so a batch of cheese straws or a savory or sweet tart can be put together quite spontaneously. These dainty (Gianduia) turnovers came to our rescue once when dessert had been left as an afterthought. Not a bad save. Serve them at dinner or, if something sweet is your thing in the morning, at breakfast. 

1 recipe Simple Puff Pastry or 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry 
Flour 
1/2 cup of Gianduia 
1/4 cup heavy cream 
2–3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
Powdered sugar 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Lay the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with a little flour. Roll the pastry out to a ⅛-inch-thick rectangle. Cut the pastry into eight 3-inches squares. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons Gianduia just inside one of the corners or quadrants of each pastry square. Brush the edge of the pastry with some of the heavy cream. Fold the pastry in half over the Gianduia, forming a nice little triangle or turnover. Crimp the edges together. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares and Gianduia. 

Arrange the turnovers on the prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. (The turnovers can be frozen at this point and baked later, if you like. Once they are frozen solid, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag. They’ll keep in the freezer, frozen, for up to 1 month. They do not need to be defrosted before continuing with the recipe.) 

Brush the turnovers with some heavy cream and sprinkle each with some of the granulated sugar. Bake until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve warm. 

Simple Puff Pastry 

Makes one 10 — 12-inch sheet 

Traditional puff pastry—the classic French dough for leaflike, flaky napoleons, turnovers, and cheese straws—requires an involved process of rolling, folding, and turning a sheet of dough with a cold block of butter to create upward of 730 thin, uniformly even layers. In this simplified recipe, also known as “rough puff” because it’s more rustic and the layers may rise unevenly when baked, the butter is worked into the flour as for a traditional pie dough. The dough is then rolled, folded, and turned several times, giving it flakiness when baked. It is a wonderful substitute for classic puff pastry, is easy to make, and inspires great confidence, even in a novice baker. Use salted Irish butter or another European-style butter with a high fat content for the best results. 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold salted butter, preferably Irish or European-style high fat butter, cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices 
1 cup all-purpose flour 

Measure out the ingredients for making the dough: the slices of butter; ice water; a 1-cup measuring cup for dry ingredients with the flour. Mound the flour on a clean work surface (marble is ideal because it’s cool and smooth). Scatter the butter slices over the flour and sprinkle some of the flour over them to coat them. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour, squeezing the flour into each slice of butter until the mixture is crumbly and full of thin, soft chips of floury butter. Gather the flour mixture into a mound again. 

Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over the flour and butter, using a dough scraper to pull back any water that dribbles away from the mound. Lightly work the flour-butter mixture together, folding the edges toward the center with the dough scraper until it begins to hold together but is still a shaggy mass with large streaks of butter. Gather the dough together, shaping it into a 1-inch-thick square block. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Dust the dough with flour and roll it out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to make a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle (about 4-8 inches); there will be pieces of butter visible. Starting with a short end of the dough, fold the dough into thirds, like a business letter. Repeat the rolling and folding steps once more. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Dust the dough with flour and put it seam side down on the floured work surface. With the rolling pin perpendicular to the seam, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle (about 4-8 inches), squaring the edges with your hands. Fold it into thirds again. Turn the dough seam side down. Repeat the rolling, folding, and turning process 2–3 more times, rolling the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness each time and dusting it with flour as necessary. The dough should be supple and smooth. Fold it into thirds. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before using. 

Gianduia 

Makes about 2 cups 

We slather this creamy chocolate and toasted hazelnut spread—our purer, more flavorful version of Nutella, the commercial brand available throughout the world—on warm toast for breakfast. It’s part of what makes our Gianduia and Caramel Tart so delicious. (We’ve found that it also tastes sinfully good with Oreo cookies, but let’s just keep that our little secret.) 

1 generous cup (5 ounces) skinned hazelnuts 
Large pinch of sugar 
8 ounces semisweet chocolate 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts out on small baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet and toast them in the oven until they are a deep toasty brown, about 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Grind the hazelnuts with the sugar in batches in a food processor to a fairly smooth, buttery paste. 

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water over medium-low heat, stirring often. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the cream and butter. Stir in the ground hazelnuts. The gianduia will thicken and become soft and peanut butter–like as it cools. It will keep at room temperature in a covered container for up to 2 weeks. 

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31 comments:

  1. Exquisite! That filling is terrific and your pastry looks perfect.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Homemade puff pastry scares me but this looks amazing!!

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  3. I'm definitely going to try the simple puff pastry method!

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  4. Mmm... my mouth is watering for the gianduia. Scratch puff pastry is too scary for me at the moment, but I may just have to try this with store-bought.

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  5. Yummy. I am a hazelnut addict. Your pastry is gorgeous.

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  6. Like you, I've never paid too much attention to quick puff pastry. Had a couple of bad experiences with it.

    I am definitely saving this for the near future. As to homemade gianduia, my gosh, Lisa... I am CRAZY for Nutella, which is strange, I don't normally crave sweets. Nutella and dulce de leche are two huge exceptions. And white chocolate. Wait, there's butterscotch too.. :-)

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  7. I have never been brave enough to make my own puff pastry but now that you have found a great recipe, I'm feeling more inspired. And what a yummy filling. I haven't made that before either. These look very yummy xx

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  8. I have always cast a skeptical eye at those quick puff pastry recipes and have never tried one. You've convinced me to give this on a go, though.

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  9. I have made neither Lisa but I see that I have addd both to my bucket list.

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  10. Lisa this is absolutely amazing: Homemade puff pastry and homemade Nutella!
    I would have never dreamed of trying this but you make it sound very easy.
    Looks delicious :)

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  11. Wow Lisa, you always surprise me...this turnovers look absolutely gorgeous...I can almost taste the lightness of the puff pastry with the creamy gianduia.
    Have a wonderful week :)

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  12. That looks so flaky and utterly delicious my friend :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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  13. No and no. But wow will I ever! That puff pastry looks fabulous and much flakier than my traditional puff pastry. Stupendous! And I have had homemade nutella on my to-do list forever. Thanks for the recipes and the inspiration!

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  14. How beautiful. I've never made puff pastry myself and I think I need to try it out. Sounds easy and perfect for these little turnover treats. :)

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  15. I've been wanting to eat hazelnut with chocolate. And this is a nice recipe and perfect combination.
    Lisa they look delicious!!!

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  16. These are just about the most gorgeous thing I've seen today.Our family is crazy about Nutella! I should make these!

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  17. I have a feeling I could never eat that frozen puff pastry again.

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  18. These look so delicious and I am glad you have found a recipe for quick puff pastry. I have never attempted to make it myself.

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  19. Your pastry looks fantastic, Lisa. The hazelnut chocolate filling sounds divine!

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  20. This is just beautiful, my friend. I have made puff pastry before...but it has been neither quick or easy. I can't wait to give this a try. In fact, I think I might change my afternoon plans so I can begin right away. Thank you for sharing another delicious recipe, Lisa!

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  21. to answer your questions, no and no. i have, however, filled storebought puff pastry with storebought nutella and enjoyed it very much. this would be much more fulfilling. :)

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  22. Yes and no. But I am always looking for a better rough puff pastry recipe because mine doesn't end up so beautifully puffed and layered like yours. I'll be trying this soon, Lisa! What a wonderful recipe!

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  23. I always by the ready one, of course I wanted to make my own, but it seemed to be too difficult and time consuming. I hope to try out your recipe soon.

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  24. Oh wow these look so good! I've never made anything like this, but really want to now!

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  25. I've never tried easy puff pastry or homemade gianduia but I will add be adding these impressive treats to my "Baking" list! They have all the glamour of a most extraordinary dessert!

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  26. These look amazing. I tried making puff pastry once but it' s not an easy job!

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  27. Hazelnut and homemade puff pastry! Yes!!!!!

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  28. Interesting...I love both puff pastry and hazelnut spread...ANYTHING hazelnut! Thanks.
    Tonette
    http://tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily.wordpress.com/

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  29. I have never made either. I've watched someone make quick puff in a class and it turned out great, but it's just one of those culinary fears that I have. I need to get over it! Wonderful job on these. I've passed that cookbook by because it seemed too meaty to me, but sounds like there are some great recipes in there!

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