Puff Pastry – great for cooking with the grandchildren

puff pastry 1Thank goodness for ready made puff pastry. When I first got married I remember spending hours making my own, but now I always use the ready made type.

I like to use a block of pastry rather than the ready rolled type as it is more fun for the grandchildren if they roll it out themselves.  If I have a choice I prefer to buy all butter ready made puff pastry as it seems easier to roll out and gives a nice taste and texture to the baking.

A good tip is to divide the block into smaller pieces (dividing into 6 works well) and freeze them. Take a piece out about 2 hours before you need it to defrost. When rolled out, one of these smaller pieces makes a square about 7″ to 8″ square.

Although the block may have a slight coating of flour, you will need extra flour on your work surface and on the rolling pin to stop the pastry sticking.

I like to make strudels with the pastry. With young children I cut up the fruit but older children can cut it up themselves. Using an apple corer can also be fun.

puff pastry strudel 1I never stick to a set recipe. The strudel on the left is made with 2 dessert apples, a pear, a plum, raisins and almond flakes. Just before I rolled it up I spread a little honey on the fruit. Sometimes I will scatter sugar.

puff pastry strudel 2Children love decorating the top with off cuts of pastry. You can even make individual tarts by cutting circles and putting fruit on top.

To get a nice finish, you should brush the top of the pastry with egg, but I find using oil or milk also works.

Bake in a hot oven 200C for about 15-20 minutes.

As an alternative to fruit, I use the same technique with vegetables. A mix of baby corn, mushrooms, onion, courgette and cauliflower chopped up works well. You may need to par boil the cauliflower and other hard vegetables.

Have fun experimenting.
puff pastry strudel 3

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