The perfect puff pastry, pregnancies, carbo hydratrates and the myth of social acceptance
When I was pregnant, during my first trimester, all that my body craved was puff pastry. I still have no idea why it was like that, I mean, it's not that I don't like it - I do, a looooot!! - but still, it wasn't something I had ever woken up to an impending and mindblowing craving. Until I got pregnant, that is. And the fun part of it is that I only realised that in hindsight.
At first I would go to the trouble of baking little pasties, filling them with cheese and spinach, or just spinach, in quantities that made up for two or three lunchtime meals on my own. And I would gobble them down without even noticing how the pastry puffed up, lightly aireated as it was, how it crumbled beneath my biting teeth, how it flaked and seemed to melt in my mouth, oozing its filling delighfuly. All I wanted was to get that puff pastry in my stomach, caring nothing for the taste ad the magnificence of said pastry.
After a while I wouldn't even bother filling the puff pastry, I'd just cut up large squares of raw pastry dough and bake them in the oven, so I could munch on them without a tought. Nowadays I find this need I was having for the puff pastry as something really weird, but I put it down to my constant control on the food I would eat, cutting down on most things that to my mind could render me fat and not worthy of being a part of my group of skinny, slim, elegantly bodied friends. The baby inside of me was in need for carbohydrates that I had refused to consume for so long, and that craving for puff pastry was his way of telling me what he needed so he could grow healthy and whole. I went through something akin with bananas - I am not a fan! - and on my third trimester all I wanted to eat was fish, all day long. I still view these cravings as the baby telling me what he needed.
Right now I have no need for puff pastry, and I probably should lay those carbs aside - not gonna happen, I love the possibility of eating all I care about, varying my ingredients as much as I can afford to, leaving nothing out, not even those demonic little carbs. - but the truth is that homemade puff pastry is something of a dream. I don't know if you have ever tried making your own, despite the time consuming affair it might seem it is, but if you have, I am sure you will agree with me. Nothing beats homemade puff pastry. The real deal, not the cheat's version we normally use. Even though that one's a winner, it doesn't even come close to the real thing. I urge you to try it at least once. And then you can simple use anything your heart desires to fill it up. Well, not everything. But you can at least consider delving into some indulgence, like we did here, using Edam cheese for half our pastry and good ole' portuguese farinheira on the other half. And if the sound of it seems good to you, well, that's because it is!!
So, for the puff pastry you will need:
- 200 gr unsalted butter
- 250 gr flour
- 170 ml cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Now you can start cutting your pastry into large-ish squares, by rolling the whole of it out, and then using a scraper, cutting out the squares in the size you want them. At the center of each sqaure, place the filling, not overdoing it or it will burst through the pasties. We used a farinheira, which we cut into large chunks, and also used cubed Edam which we scattered generously at the center of the squares, folding them down on the filling, like one folds a letter. With a fork we pressed the sides so they would seal, and we used eggwash to swab the upper layer, to give t that golden, shiny finish once it comes out of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, untill you see it is golden and puffy. Let them cool for a while, if you can resist, and serve them as appetizers, or a meal, with a side of salad. You will not regret it!