Friday, November 06, 2009

My First Puff Pastry - Spanakopita


Daring to bake somethings from scratch gives a high always!

I have tried baking pretzels, bagels, French bread etc. but was not getting on to puff pastry. Finally a few months ago I did break the mind block. I always envy the westerners for making cooking so easy with ready to use pastries and other things. Yet the sense of achievement is something I would truly wear when I succeed in one of these experiments.

Puff pastry making would get put off for reasons more than one. I told myself...

  1. It is time consuming.
  2. Difficult
  3. Has a lot of fat
  4. My oven is too small (eh!)

Finally one day. I took the all purpose flour that was lying neglected for some time and decided to turn it into Spanakopita. Just the sound of it inspired me. Google googly said it was a pie with spinach and cheese stuffing. In my kitchen obvious Indian adaptation was going to be palak -paneer. One peer at the paneer the Dad had picked on the rushed errand was Tofu I found out. I had never tried Tofu before as I am not a fan of Soy and its doings (Read this Is Soy healthy?)

Well, I used it up. I wanted to taste it once, though I knew it would not be great. Also I hate to dump things in the dustbin just like that.

It was quite quick to bake and serve. Ideal for party food as it allows preparation ahead of time. Then you are ready to serve warm Spanakopita.

Ingredients

For the puff pastry
2 cups all purpose flour/ maida
1 teaspoon olive oil
a small piece of frozen butter (1.5' X 3')
salt to taste

For the filling

1 big bunch spinach
1 cupe cubed Tofu/ Paneer
1/4 teaspoon Red chili powder
1 green chili chopped fine
salt to taste

To begin, get the filling ready. Pick and clean the spinach. In a big pot add just a bit of water and stir till the spinach is wilted. Drain the extra liquid through a strainer. On a kitchen towel dab the spinach. Put it on a cutting board and chop fine. Transfer the chopped spinach into a big bowl. Add the cubed tofu or paneer. I'd prefer paneer any day. Add the dash of red chili powder and mix in the chopped green chilies. Mix well. Save aside.

The Pastry making begins here. Knead the all purpose flour with salt and water. The dough should be firm but pliable. Add the teaspoon of oil to make it smooth. Keep it aside for 10 mins. Cover with wet cloth to prevent drying.




After 10 mins. Roll the out dough. Place the butter in the center and wrap it to get a square packet like you see here. Now keepin the seam side down roll out into a rectangle though mine looks more like an oval ;).

Fold again like before and roll out. Keep doing this 5 times. Finally when you see a good no. of layers. Roll out to get a thick rectangle, cut into three equal parts.

Roll out each part into 1/4 inch thick rectangles. Spoon out the filling on the three rectangles placing it on a central imaginary line. Turnover the pastry and press so that it holds together while baking.

I used the drip tray for baking to maximize the space in my small oven. So to avoid sticking I covered it with foil and oiled the foil with olive oil. Then carelessly cut up the Spanakopita into manageable pieces and placed them on the tray. Gave a light brush of olive oil to the tops. Pushed the tray into a preheated oven. I baked them for 20 mins at 210 deg celcius.

My puff pastry was less fatty than what we get in fancy outlets. I liked it that way and for once I was watching Dad truely enjoying my baking, ofcourse with sauce.

In the Chip and dip tray however you see the Narali pak (Coconut burfi) in the center well. It turned out to be a very satisfying meal both for the taste buds as well as the mind. I had overcome a mind block after all and it feels great that I learnt one more new thing.

3 comments:

  1. Good one dear.... I was searching for recipe for long time but some were with pastry sheets.... so i dropped the idea.... thanks for sharing:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow Anjali... I always thought baking was greek or latin :) Super......!

    ReplyDelete
  3. looks good, Anjali!! I love this stuff,

    trupti
    the spice who loved me

    ReplyDelete

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