Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Puff pastry experiment

I recently took a 'Frozen and Plated Desserts' class at University of Richmond's Center for Culinary Arts.  It is a required core class for the Baking and Pastry Arts certificate I am pursuing.  One group in the class made creme horns, using puff pastry and buttercream.

I thought that was far beyond my skill level, so I was scared to try to make them - plus I didn't have any items in my house that I could use or even kludge as the metal cone needed to shape the pastry.  Then, the other night on Pinterest I saw this:

Looks like a s'more, right?  I'm a sucker for pretty much any Nutella recipe, even though given the choice I prefer World Market's generic hazelnut spread.  Since this used puff pastry too, I decided to bite the bullet and go buy some pastry cones so I could try both recipes!

The bad news is they are $5 each, so I could only stomach paying for 3 of them.  That was even a stretch.  Why is a little piece of metal so expensive?  Jeez!

Anyways, tonight was the night to experiment with puff pastry and first up were the creme horns.  Once the puff pastry was thawed I unfolded it (it comes as a tri-fold) and cut it into 1-inch (approx) strips:

My precision needs a little work :)

I sprayed my horns and a baking sheet with baking spray and then wrapped the strips of pastry around the cone.  After some near-fails and experimenting, I ended up using 2 strips per cone.  I overlapped them about an inch to make 1 longer strip and then wrapped the long strip around the cone after spraying the cones and baking sheet with cooking spray:

Each one got an egg-wash before going into the oven:
They look like mummies.

I baked them seam side down at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, and they came out looking like this:

While they were cooling I started my Nutella pastries.  I used the third of the first pastry sheet plus the second sheet, cutting them in about 3x3 inch squares.  I spread Nutella and Pampered Chef Mocha Hazelnut Sprinkle...

...folded them diagonally, crimped the edges with a fork, and egg-washed the tops:

I baked them at the same temp and time as the cones, and they came out like this:

They puffed way more than I expected, but they look light and fluffy!

I knew when I was grocery shopping for the puff pastry and the week's groceries that I wouldn't feel like making homemade buttercream after experimenting, so I picked up a tub of Ukrop's buttercream:

I piped that into the creme horns and they're ready for their closeup!  Pardon the blurry and whited-out photo - my good camera's on the fritz:

I can't believe I was scared to use puff pastry - it's so easy and versatile!  This would be a great base for many, many party foods...

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