11.29.2012

Savory Pastry - Yeah, I made them.

The more and more potluck dinners I have under my belt, the more and more daring I become in my kitchen adventures. This week, I dove into the sea of puff pastry. Not knowing anything about how to even use the stuff, I was a tad nervous, however, I was excited to be doing something else new, and daring.

So last night, I made some savory pastries for my weekly Wednesday night heart group potluck. I found the recipe I wanted to use as I was oogling over picture after picture of “Potluck Favorites” on Pinterest. When I landed on the Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa stuffed Puff Pastry, I knew I needed to look no further. 

My finished product
source: me
The pictures of these golden puffy packages, filled with avocado, cream cheese and salsa were stunning, and the recipe looked easy enough, but as I’ve found, a lot of things on Pinterest look easy enough, but just plain aren’t. 

But, I just couldn’t pass this one up. I felt like the challenge of working with puff pastry would be fun and exciting, and who doesn’t like making something totally gorgeous? I know that beautiful food makes me happy, and when I’m the one producing it, I just feel ecstatic that I’m gaining the confidence to create new things that only a few months ago, I’d be too afraid to make. I used to be scared that I’d mess up, or whatever I was making wouldn’t come out right and be awful, or something petty like that. 

So yesterday when I got home from the Food Bank, I set to work in the kitchen, first removing the puff pastry from the freezer, and then lining up all my ingredients. At first, I was going to just be using salsa, as the recipe called for, but when I was at Trailer Food Tuesdays this week, I was able to sample and take home something TRULY unique, Japa Jam. This tomato jam created by Trailer Food Diaries, comes from The Peached Tortilla food trailer, and WOW does it pack a punch! 

Yummy Japa Jam
Source: Me
After I sampled it, I KNEW I’d have to use some of this sweet, spicy, tart, cinnamony, garlicky, zesty, warm jam in my pastries. I couldn’t pass up this sudden burst of inspiration, so I got hold of a jar, promising to make something exciting and delicious with this stuff.

While I was waiting for the puff pastry to thaw (this took way longer than anticipated, and I started to get nervous, looking at the clock, the time ticking by…  again, no one ever accused me of being patient.), I sliced open my pretty avocados, and scooped them into a bowl. I mashed them up as best I could, leaving a few chunks whole. 

oOoOo
Source: me

After a few long minutes, the pastry was mostly thawed, so I floured my working space, and rolled the dough out as thin as I could without tearing it. I used a pizza cutter to cut squares from the flattened dough, and lined up an assembly line. First I put a layer of cream cheese, then a layer of mushed avocado, and then finally the Japa Jam. I made 14 pastries with Japa Jam, and 14 pastries with Tommys! Roasted Ancho Chilie Salsa. 

Tommy's
Source: me

Once I secured lids on all of the layered pastry squares, I gave them all a nice egg washing, and put them in the oven for 25 minutes.

There wasn’t exactly a strong aroma from these bad boys, but they sure were absolutely perfect. They looked SO beautiful. I mean, I was super surprised with how they turned out. 

Ready for the oven!
Source: Me
That’s when I started to catch a whiff of them. The avocado and the tomato jam mixed together to create this sweet yet savory smell that beckoned me to taste! Then, I started to pick up hints then of the roasty toasty ancho chilie salsa. Holy cow, this was going to be hard – driving with these all the way to the heart group meeting and resisting temptation to eat them. All. 

Super pretty!
Source: Me

I resisted temptation and all 24 of these golden beauties arrived safely. They weren’t going to be around for long though!

So I bet you’re all wondering how they tasted, huh? 

Yummy
Source: me
Super delicious, that’s how! The puff pastry was crispy, flakey and super light. The cream cheese was melted so nice and the avocado was warm and full of that wonderful buttery flavor. The pastries with the salsa tasted super traditional. The avocado, salsa and cream cheese just blended together to create a really familiar Mexican flavor composition. The flavor was really remarkable.

The pastries with the Japa Jam were just so out of this world. The flavor from the jam mixed with the avocado and cheese beautifully, but it was definitely a taste that I’d never experienced before. It was so warm, and spicy and yep, there’s the tomato sweetness, oh wait… that tastes like cinnamon, oh hey… there’s something citrusy…. 

Pretty little buggers
Source: Me

Everyone agreed that it was something really special and unique. The layers of flavor in that jam translated nicely into the dish. The jam wasn’t over powering, but you could without doubt pick out each and every flavor.

While the salsa was familiar and comforting, the jam added a new meaning to exciting food.

I hope that you try these yummy savory pastries. If you’re at all apprehensive about working with the puff pastry, I assure you, it’s not as scary as it seems. I never used it until last night, and it was easy-peasy.

Phew, another successful week, another successful potluck under my belt. I wonder what next week will bring? Stay tuned to find out!


Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa Stuffed Puff Pastry

Recipe Adapted From: Love, Veggies & Yoga

What You’ll Need:

Ingredients

2 Ripe avocados
2-4 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
Cream cheese, room temperature
Salsa of your choice, or if you feel inspired to add something else, like Japa Jam, add that to your list! (For more information on how to get some Trailer Food Diaries, scroll to the bottom)
1 egg, beaten

Tools That Will Help:

2 baking/cookie sheets
Parchment paper
Rolling Pin
Pizza cutter
A pastry paintbrush
Spoons & forks

How to make them:

Layers!
Source: Me

Preheat your oven to 400 °F

Slice open your avocados, and scoop the meat out into a bowl. Mush it up as best you can.

Flour your counter top or working surface and roll out the pastry square as thinly as possible, and be careful not to tear it! With a pizza cutter or knife, slice the puffed pastry into approximately 2-inch by 2-inch squares. I made 48 squares out of 3 sheets of pastry.

Create an assembly line! First lay down some cream cheese, then some mushed avocado, then your salsa or jam. Do this on half of your squares. The other half of the squares will be lids for the first half.

When you’re ready to add the lids, place them on top of the stacked ingredients and pinch all the edges together. I used a fork for this part, to ensure that every single teeny place was sealed tight. You don’t want any leakage!

Next, place your pastry packages on a parchment lined baking sheet, and give them a layer of egg wash, to make them pretty and golden in the oven.

Place the cookie sheets in the oven, and check them at 15 minutes. I let mine cook for 25 minutes, but I’m sure anywhere between 20-30 minutes would be the ideal length of time.


Interested in Trailer Food Diaries Jam? I don't blame you!


Click here to see their Fall 2012 Flavor Line, or you can email tiffany@trailerfooddiaries.com or maurine@trailerfooddiaries.com for more information. 

Happy Baking!

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