Day 26: Baking for dummies – pastry to impress
As stated previously, baking really is not my thing – for many reasons.
However, there is one sweet thing I can do well – and they are called Matchsticks. The stick part is the pastry, which is then filled with jam and cream – and while you do have to bake the pastry – it’s really no biggie – as long as people like me (those who are inept when it comes to putting sweet things in the oven to cook) keep an eye on them in the oven.
This is another recipe which I feel like has been with me my whole life – and that’s because my mum always used to make them. If there was a morning tea to cater for, a birthday at school, or a cake stall – mum would whip up a batch of these and they would be gobbled up like hot cakes.
Everyone wanted to know how to make them and she used to laugh and proceed to tell them that she simply had brought some frozen puff pastry, cut it , waited for it to puff up in the over and then applied jam to one side and cream to the other before squashing them together. Creatively, she tops them with a sprinkle of icing sugar to make them look pretty.
It was morning tea day at work this morning – we have them about once a month and everyone brings a plate of something. Most people go to a lot of trouble and actually bake cakes, biscuits, and scones and even make dip and fruit platters. However, I’m always the one who buys something from the bakery and pops it on a nice plate, just to show I have made SOME kind of effort. However, I am very proud to say I went just a little further this month and whipped up some matchsticks instead. Very pleased with my efforts 🙂
Matchsticks – for the baking inept
3 sheets of puffy pastry (I just get it from the frozen section at the supermarket) – this will make 12 matchsticks
a few tbs of milk, to brush over the pastry
250ml of cream
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 a cup of jam, of your choice (strawberry or raspberry is great, but I used apricot this time)
2 tbs of icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (c).
Cut each square of pastry in half using a sharp knife – and then cut the other way four times, to give you 8 rectangles.
Lightly grease a baking tray and lay the strips down, leaving enough room for them to puff up.
Brush lightly with a little milk.
Place in your preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry puffs up and go slightly golden.
Meanwhile – place cream in a mixing bowl with the vanilla extract and whip till it is quite thick (just don’t go too far and turn it into butter!)
Remove the pastry from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Continue this process until you have cooked all the pastry rectangles – I had to do a few batches as I don’t have a very large baking tray.
Once cooled – get one matchstick, and on the flatter side, coat with jam. Get another rectangle and smother the flat side with cream before placing on top of the jam-covered matchstick. Repeat until or sticks are filled. Dust with the icing sugar.
Aren’t they cute? I think they look awesome considering how little time and effort they take.
This weekend I’m looking forward to catching up with my awesome friend AJ – who recently wrote this awesome post, promoting Uforic Food of all things. Check out the post here and make sure you watch the video – it’s soooo funny! Can’t wait to thank him in person – it’s a bugger living so far away!
I’m also hoping, that in between lunch with AJ and packing, that I will get to use my brand new tagine!! That’s right, I finally found one and am totally busting to make Morocco’s national dish – tagine chicken with cous cous. It’s got amazing flavours including preserved lemon, tomato, onion, garlic and spices like cumin and cinnamon. Can’t wait!! Stay tuned to find out how I went.
Until then …
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