Monday, September 20, 2010

Peach Crostata with Homemade Puff Pastry Recipe

Peaches are still plentiful right now, and I love puff pastry with just about any kind of fruit, this is one of our favorites, the filling is simple....the pastry, little time consuming but well worth the trouble. I wanted to make something special in my brand new kitchen remodeled.
Trina got bored with me and didn't make it waiting for this dough to be ready to use in this recipe, so she slept through the whole thing... after a long cat nap she woke up and everything was all done, how nice to be a cat... she's my only girl, and gets away with doing nothing!

I had a few strawberries left over scraps of dough that will never go to waste, so it became a lone strawberry and cream cheese crostata.
The easiest part is the filling, not many ingredients and comes out perfect every time!
I like to prepare the peach filling just before we are ready to fill the crust at the end, wished sometimes I had a helping hand, but that cat Trina is so lazy!

Let's begin with the flaky puff pastry dough!

2 cups flour
16 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup ice cold water
pinch of salt

Mix 1/4 cup of flour with 14 tablespoons softened butter to make a smooth paste. Shape into a square approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. In another bowl mix the cold water, 2 tablespoons of butter, and the remaining 1 3/4 cup of flour and a pinch of salt. This will be an elastic, shiny dough. Knead for about one minute. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Refrigerating the dough makes this easier to roll the dough without breaking it. On a lightly floured board, roll out the shiny dough 1/4 inch thick. Place the butter dough square onto the shiny dough and wrap the ends of the shiny dough to enclose the butter dough in an envelope .Roll out the dough envelope to 1/4 inch thickness and fold in thirds like a business letter.
Roll again in the opposite direction and fold in thirds again. Refrigerate 30 minutes and repeat the process twice for a total of six times of folding in the process. This will be making many of hundreds buttery layers. Cooling the dough is very important step. After folding the dough the sixth time, refrigerate the dough once more, and then it will be ready for use for any recipe that requires puff pastry. Tip: The oven must be preheated to a high temperature, 400 or as high 450, when the dough is placed in the oven. If the oven is not hot, the butter will melt and the moisture will evaporate before steam can form to separate the layers. You will end up with a tough non-flaky crust and Crostata.
Peach or any other fruit filling:
4 peaches peeled and cubed...throw the pit away
2 heaping tablespoons of peach jam, apricot or pineapple ( depending on the type of fruit, use coordinating jam) use more if you like sweet
2 teaspoon of cornstarch or  wondra flour
1/2 teaspoon peach schnapps or (vanilla extract if you don't have any on hand)
optional pinch of cinnamon
 melted butter
Mix all together the flour will thicken this mixture perfectly
Roll out your dough 1/8 inch thick cutting the edges to make it round.
Pile the fruit in the middle, fold the edges towards the middle leaving the fruit center showing, but the dough tucked around it. Brush with butter.
Bake in a hot oven on 415 degrees or higher till browned nicely.
Note: For Cream Cheese and Fruit.... add 1/3 cup cream cheese 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, beat all together, add to the bottom of the crust. Top crust with fruit and jam mixture from the above recipe.

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