Almond Pockets

Almond Pastries

Sedona’s magic has followed me home.  When I opened my laptop tonight, I had initially intended to tell you about the purpose of my latest visit to Sedona.   Upon realizing the complexity of this almond pockets recipe below,   I hesitated to incorporate a long-winded post about Sedona too and opted to save the tale for another day.  So, no sooner do I resolve to forget the story and focus on the recipe when what comes up on PBS but a First Nations Experience (FNX) program on Sedona’s Boynton Canyon – reminding me that no one puts Sedona on the back burner.  I’m still determined to save my story for another day, but rather than utterly avoiding the  topic of Sedona, I’m sharing a photo from my favorite perch in Boynton at the end of this post.  I know better than to mess with red rock juju when it happens.


Almond Pockets

Adapted from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking

Ingredients

    Danish Pastry Dough
  • 4 ¼ oz. warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
  • 1 pkt rapid rise yeast
  • 18.5 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 oz. sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. whole milk
  • 10 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • Almond Crème
  • 2 1/8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ oz. powdered sugar
  • 2 1/8 oz. almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Make Dough: In a large bowl, mix the water and yeast together. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons flour over the yeast mixture. Let stand for about 15 minutes. In another bowl, mix the sugar salt and milk together until the solids are dissolved.

Sift the remaining flour and add it to the yeast mixture. Add the milk mixture and begin mixing to form a shaggy dough. Finish by kneading the dough on the countertop until a formed until a ball. Cover and allow to ferment for 40 minutes. Punch down and refrigerate, covered for 1 hour.

Roll in the Butter: Roll the dough into a long rectangle. Smear softened butter over bottom two-thirds of the dough, leaving a margin around the edges. Fold the unbuttered third of the dough over the center. Fold the bottom third on top. Rotate the dough 90 degrees (so the folds are vertical). Complete the first fold: Roll out the dough in a long rectangle. Fold the top third over the center. Fold the bottom third over the top. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Repeat the rolling and folding two more times.

Make the almond crème:  Cream the softened butter, stir in the powdered sugar, almond flour, salt, egg and almond extract.  Refrigerate.

Make the pockets: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 20” x 20” square. Divide into 16 squares approximately 5”x5”. Place the almond filling in the middle of each square, Brush 2 opposite corners with egg, fold over the center, pressing down firmly to seal. Proof for 15 minutes.

Egg wash the outside of the pastries and sprinkle liberally with sliced almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Kachina

Kachina Woman – Boynton Canyon

Advertisements

Bostock

Bostock

She slams the snooze button yet again.  Even after a long night of uninterrupted dreams, her brain is clouded and her limbs weigh 100 pounds.  She wonders if she could live life from the comfort of a bed.  She is finding it difficult to set a good example at work.  She fantasizes about 4-day, 10:00 to 4:00 work weeks.  Is this exhaustion or merely malaise?  Concerned, she doesn’t know how to fix herself.

While not a permanent solution, she finds momentary relief in the kitchen.

Bostock Pastries
Serves 6

Orange  Syrup
½ c. Water
¼ c. Sugar
1 T. Orange flower water
1 t. Orange zest
Almond Cream
½ c. Butter, softened
1 c. Almond meal
¾ c. Powdered sugar
Pinch Salt
1 Egg
¼ t. Vanilla
¼ t. Almond extract
6 Slices brioche or challah, 1” thick
¼ c. Almonds, sliced
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove until sugar has dissolved.  Turn off heat and add orange flower water and zest.  In a medium bowl, stir butter, almond meal, sugar, and salt together until well combined.  Add egg and extracts and blend well.  Liberally brush both sides of brioche slices with orange syrup. Spread  tops of slices with 3-4 tablespoons of almond cream and sprinkle with sliced almonds.  Place bostock on sheet pan and bake 18-22 minutes until tops are golden and almond cream is slightly puffy.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Searching for something better

Theirs

Theirs

I’ve gone silent; not from lack of kitchen time, but from a life and kitchen that are evading my mastery. I’ve been trying to improve upon a local bakery’s signature fruit coffee cake called a “Wagon Wheel” – a round of yeast dough dolloped with cloying fruit gel and sprinkled with… I’m not really sure…maybe cake mix crumbs? This ubiquitous breakfast treat has graced the break-room counter of every office building in the county. Often brought by vendors during morning visits, almost every employee is sure to consume a wedge with their morning cup of java. For all their popularity, they’re not very good. Even Entenmann’s can do better. The best part is the fruit dollops – portions are often selected haphazardly to ensure a fruit blob, resulting in a skeleton wheel of leftover nondescript coffeecake, thrown away at day’s end.

A few weeks ago, I was cutting my own Tetris wedge from a wheel, insuring to capture a blueberry dollop, when I decided that I could do better – the cocky assurance of a week’s pastry school still upon me – more fruit and a delectably sweet, yeasty dough. I’ll develop the ultimate recipe, quit my job and make a fortune!!! I’ve gone through a couple of ideas and so far, no luck. This afternoon, after three hours of rising time (ugh, there’s no yeast bread without time), I took one bite and, crestfallen, tossed the rest in the garbage, still oven-warm. Even a heavy dose of butter and liberal sprinkling of powdered sugar couldn’t resuscitate it. It’s been the same misstep each time – overly chewy edges and a lack of sweetness.

One step forward, two steps back. Why am I not surprised – as in life, so also in the kitchen…but I’ll get to that later.

Wagonwheel

Attempt #1 – Cherry and Apple

Attempt #2 Boysenberry Square

Attempt #2 Boysenberry Square

Le Gibassier Part 2

Gibassier_compressed

I couldn’t resist.  I had to make them for myself.  The “active” time on the recipe is minimal, but the time needed for rising, resting and proofing made this an all-day affair. Most recipes I found on the internet are some version of the gibassier by Ciril Hitz, with each cook adding her own alternations.  For this initial attempt, I decided on Anne’s recipe at Dinner Plate.  Her goal was to duplicate the gibassier from Pearl Bakery, which was the location of my revelation, so I thought it was a good place to begin.  Rather than reprint it here, you can find her recipe by visiting her site.  This recipe is similar to the others with a few modifications including adding an egg to the pre-ferment, replacing some olive oil with more butter, decreasing the anise seed but adding more candied orange peel and increasing the yeast.

I’m no better than the rest of the chefs out there as I couldn’t leave her version alone either.  I used the candied orange recipe at Chocolate and Zucchini rather than the version at Dinner Plate.  I prefer Clotilde’s version which includes some of the pulp on the final product.  For flour, I substituted higher-gluten bread flour for APF, as was recommended in many of the other recipes.  Also, I wanted pronounced anise flavor, so I increased the anise seed back to the original amount (1.5 t.), toasted the seeds and slightly crushed them.

I must admit that this initial batch turned out pretty damn good.   On the next go, there are two definite changes I’m making.  First, at 100 grams, the finished pastries are just too damn big.  Next time, I’m trying something in the 70-80 gram range.  Second, using the superfine sugar as a coating meant they finished gibassier didn’t have the same sugary, finger-licking crust as Pearl Bakery.  I adore the sandy sugar texture on my teeth as I bite into the bread – and I miss it.   Next time, it’s standard granulated sugar.

Other things I will try on subsequent rounds:

  • Activating the yeast before adding it to the pre-ferment and dough. No one recommends doing this, but this was standard operating procedure in culinary school.
  • Using the olive oil to butter ratio found on other sites. While butter is always best (mmm…butter!), it seems olive oil is the more traditional route.
  • Trying APF flour rather than Bread flour to compare the final texture, although I was very happy with my version. 

The majority of the batch went in the freezer  and out of my immediate reach – my jeans couldn’t take a 100 gram gibassier a day for the next 12 days.  I’m parsing them out – enjoying one half every morning with my coffee.  At this rate, the batch will almost last a month…if my willpower holds steady.