A smile crept across my face when I opened the oven after the initial 15 minute bake. Steam sweltered from the 415 degree oven, containing a 15 x 9" marvel, the puff pastry for my "Classic Millefeuille Napoleon." I hadn't expected to get so much rise, actually I felt I got too much for the recipe used, but I thought it would probably fall a little during the second 15 minute bake at 350 degrees. I docked the puff in a few places where it was poofing excessively, to let out some steam. Was that my mistake?
The puff still was about two inches after the requisite 15 minutes, which I felt was more appropriate for my purposes. I was a little upset that the tops weren't burning, even after an extra 3-minutes. I began to blame my damn conventional oven. I decided to turn on the broiler for a minute to brown the tops, another error? The top browned quickly, but the dough started to fall under the height. "Oh that's not good," I muttered, except with some vulgarities added. I snatched out the baking sheet. I had covered the pastry with parchment paper and a cooling rack, as Sherry Yard instructed me. Sherry, was that the best idea? All said and done I wish I had docked the pastry beforehand as Baking911 had instructed. (One problem with that site - it's so packed with links and factoids, the ease of navigation quickly leans to discomfiture. I think I followed three different recipes to make the damn dough.)
A minute or two later, very eager, I cut into the pastry. The first layers were crispy and golden, and then I saw what looked like a croissant dipped in melted butter. The layers didn't look done, there was no semblance of structure! It looked more like the inside of microwavable pigs-in-a-blanket. Angst overcame me. I mean, I had the pastry cream ready and beautiful strawberries cut - which made for some good snacking I must say - but without the puff my Napoleon was toast. Out of frustration I tossed most of the pastry into a trash receptacle; I couldn't bare the sight of it. The worst part, this was to be my entry for Sugar High Friday, hosted by Clement. And there was no way I was gonna spend the hours (so much waiting) to make another dough. I guess I should have taken the advice of the many cooks who say that puff pastry is better left to the professionals and Pepperidge Farm. I mean Ina Garten doesn't even make the stuff!
Now I need to go back into the kitchen and moil with some easier dough to allay my fear of the dreaded detrempe! I should also post about the successes of my first cake, Cook's Illustrated's German Chocolate Cake. I am a new describer of the magazine, and although the photography cannot compare to Gourmet or Donna Hay, the recipe tips and superb instructionals are unparalleled.