Saturday, December 15, 2012

Babette's Feast - #1 entry

This is another way to present the dish.

The objective was to get the puff pastry dough down for the quails in coffins. So, might as well do a simple recipe on the quail and side. The side was pan grilled asparagus and red peppers. Here's the presentation. In the future, I gotta use either smaller quail (these are Texas size quail) or make the coffin bigger.

So, for the puff pastry dough, here are the ingredients:

Those are lemons there, not grapefruits. A friend gave me a bunch of Meyer lemons. They have great flavor. So, I juiced them all, made ice cubes of the juice so that there are small quantities available when needed.

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup vodka (yes, vodka), chilled,
1/2 cup water, chilled
1/4 cup water, chilled

3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

First thing is to combine the flour, sugar and salt. This is done in the food processor. Just put all those dry ingredients in it and pulse it for about 5 to 10 seconds.

Now, with the processor running, add the lemon juice, the vodka and the 1/2 cup of water in a slow and steady stream. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and no flour bits remain.

Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 6-inch square. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.


Lay butter sticks side by side on a sheet of parchment paper.

Now, dust this with the two tablespoons of flour.
Now place a second piece of parchment paper on top and gently pound the butter with your palms or with a rolling pin to softened it and incorporate the flour and roll it into an 8-inch square. Should look like:

Wrap the square in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.

After chilling the dough and butter square, roll the chilled dough into an 11-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Place the chilled butter square diagonally in the center, like this:
Fold corners of dough up over the butter square so that corners meet in the middle and pinch the dough seams to seal.. Using rolling pin, gently tap dough, starting from center and working outward, until square becomes larger and butter begins to soften. Gently roll dough into 14-inch square, dusting with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. This should then look like this: 

Now fold the dough into thirds like a business letter, then fold the rectangle in thirds to form a square, like this:

Wrap dough in plastic and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Repeat this twice (yes, twice!). That is, roll it out on a floured surface into a 14 inch square, fold like a business letter and then fold into a square and then wrap in plastic and then refrigerate for 2 hours. Then repeat.

This amount of puff pastry dough should be enough for 10 coffins. So, I froze half of it by wrapping in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Should keep about six months.

To make the coffins, first preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface, large enough to cut out the coffins. I first tried a 5-inch circle for each coffin. Next time it will be a 6-inch or 7-inch circle. (Texas quail are big!)

Cut out these large circles and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Now, cut a smaller circle (I tried a 3-inch in the 5-inch circle) but do not cut all the way through! You want to make a lid for the coffin.

Bake for 22 minutes or until puffed and golden. Carefully lift out the lid to create the coffin and a lid. Place on a wire rack to cool.

This entry is focused on the puff pastry. Nailed it! Just need to make them bigger.

Now, to round things out, here's what I did for the quail and the sauce.

First the quail - like I said, a simple recipe. I will try the Babette's feast recipe for it later. What I did what dry each quail and then stuffed with apple slices. I then coated each with dijon mustard and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then, into the stove top smoker for 25 minutes. Then, into the broiler for 4 minutes to crisp up the skin.

For the sauce - another simple recipe. Took a good handful (about 1/2 cup) of golden raisins and put them in a sauce pan with a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice and about 8 ounces of raspberry jelly. Heated that until it started to boil, turned off the heat and then added 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of butter that was cut up into 1/2-inch cubes.

It was fantastic.

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