When life hands you lemons, what do you make? Lemonade (but if you’re in Italy it’s Limoncello ha ha). I was supposed to be working Sunday morning but the constant onslaught of downpour caused some problems with the trains from Rome to Frascati and the tour got cancelled. It being a Sunday and I all by myself, at first I was a little miffed. I could have had a nice lie-in, ouff. The weather was as inclement as it can get and I wasn’t at all tempted to go and brave it. Better to snuggle up at home until it was time to go and pick up my husband at the metro station later in the afternoon. And that’s when I decided I’d make puff pastry. Crazy, right? Who in their right mind …????
It was something I had been wanting to do ever since last March. Let me tell you why. It was around then that I discovered that the store-bought puff pastry in this country contains some ingredients that are really NOT good for your health, including palm oil and the like. I searched and searched for flour-and-butter-only puff pastry but no, none to be found. Grrrrr. Makes me so cross. And that’s when I decided I’d better make my own, a big batch, every now and then, so that I could freeze it and have it handy.
I had only made puff pastry once, many years ago, after a cooking class in Rome. And I’d no idea where I’d put the written instructions. So I did what we all do, searched around on the internet. I came across quite a few approaches and had jotted down some notes. It takes more time to read about the stuff than actually make it, in the end. I am not sure I chose the best approach. I found some better ones later. Typical. Anyway, here they are should you too take it into your head to make puff pastry.
(1)A video by Michel Roux: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c18ET36ViR8
(2)Another video version with Martha Stewart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dgOhHeQxrQ
(3)Richard Bertinet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdO_ef0dyuM
In the course of all that searching, I also chanced upon an Italian recipe for a pastry literally called crazy pastry, “pasta matta”. This one uses olive oil instead of butter and is a cinch compared with puff pastry.
This blog post is turning up to be all about name dropping. The next name is an Italian blogger who lives in the UK and wrote an in-depth post about pasta matta. I wish I’d read it before trying the version I ended up making, sigh.
And now to what I made (i.e. not Stefano’s recipe).
500g flour, 160g olive oil, 2 teaspoons wine vinegar, 200ml water, pinch of salt.
I confess I have become a little wary about recipe directions and I’m not always sure the people writing them are totally honest or precise enough. I turned my nose up at the amount of olive oil required for instance. I reduced the olive oil to 150ml and even then I think it was still far too much. But yes, it is very easy to make, very quick too.
I used apple cider vinegar.
Use a fork to bring the dough together.
I let the dough rest for half an hour in the fridge. I wanted to make some cocktail ‘puffs’.
It was very sticky.
These little cocktail bites turned out okay … just tomato and oregano. Next time I will add more salt to the dough.
The following day I attempted another recipe that’s great finger food.
These are slices of a smoked ham called Speck (from northern Italy). Lay the slices on the rolled out dough and sprinkle a good amount of rosemary needles.
Roll the dough.
Slice the dough and then flatten the rounds with your fingers.
Bake at 180°C until done, about 20 to 30 minutes.
They were nice enough. Could be better. Will be better, definitely, once I get the pasta matta/crazy dough recipe down right.