Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peach Pastries

Yesterday I made the last Peach Crostata. I made it as big as I could and crammed in as many leftover peaches as was possible. Would you believe there were still enough left to make one more normal sized crostata? Amazing. I was unable to dredge up enough enthusiasm to make yet another batch of pie dough, but I was also unwilling to throw out the rest of the peaches. Their time had come though (and almost gone). It was now or never, and they knew it too. Then I remembered the puff pastry in the freezer. Yep, a whole box, unopened and not even past its expiration date. That's almost as rare as a lottery win around here. A quick Google search brought up a bunch of recipe options, but since my peaches were already mixed with pie ingredients, I had little choice but to just wing it.

So here's what I did: I rolled out one sheet of the puff pastry to a 10 x 7" rectangle (approximately). Trimmed the edges straight with my pizza wheel, then sliced it in half, making two 5 x 7" rectangles*. Next, I scored a line around the inside of each, about 3/4" from the edges using the back edge of a dinner knife. I laid as many peach slices inside the scored lines as would fit comfortably. Then I squeezed a couple more in. The last four slices in the bowl were the uckiest ones, so I didn't feel too terribly bad not using them (instead, they will find new life as compost). I sprinkled a little cinnamon and brown sugar over the fruit, because it just felt right. After assembling, I popped the pastries into the freezer overnight, pan and all (that fruit was on a slippery slope and I didn't want to take any chances). This morning I took the pan out of the freezer to thaw for 20 minutes. Preheated the oven to 400°, then put the pan with the pastries in to bake for 20-25 minutes (rotating half way). Let it cool a little on a rack, sprinkled some powdered sugar on top, and breakfast was served.

Now, I know this is somewhat unorthodox for breakfast, and I would normally not make something like this for that meal. That being said, we both really liked the way it turned out. A lot. I could definitely see making small individual pastries this way and serving them to guests after a nice meal. Maybe with a little dollop of whipped cream and some chopped pistachios. It's a little fancier looking than the crostata, but just as easy. Easier even, if you buy frozen puff pastry. Mine was purchased at one of the large grocery chains and contains a few things I can't pronounce. There does exist a brand that uses real butter (shocking, isn't it?), and I'm sure I can find it at one of the many over-priced specialty markets we have around here. Of course, for a truly faked dessert when you're in a pinch, you use what you've got or can get quickly and easily. While I would love to serve only the very best healthful and organic foods to my friends, time and (mostly) budget sometimes take precedence. For the most part, our friends and family fall into two different foodie groups. There are those that do not get overly concerned about nutrition labels, but really love great food; and those who are very scrupulous nutritionally, but know that eating off track, every once and a while, is an unavoidable part of life. The Hubs and I kind of sit the fence between the two, which pretty much means we eat whatever we want but feel really really guilty about it.

I'm just kidding about that last part.

*Handy Tip: After cutting pastry into desired shapes, transfer it onto the prepared baking pan before putting the fruit on it. It's much easier that way. Why I can't seem to remember that step, is beyond me.
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