Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pufflets

Through the years of blogging, I have seen lots more dairy products incorporated into recipes.  Goat cheese has been cropping up in pies and even ice cream.  However, one dairy product that never comes to mind is cottage cheese.  I am not one to eat cottage cheese on its own, but I was curious about how it would do as an ingredient.

It turns out that cottage cheese adds some wonderful flavor to pastry.  To me, these little pufflets remind me of a fried donut.  While a fried donut is good, a filled, fried donut is even better- so I decided to go all out and reach for some pineapple jam at the grocers for filling these dainty pastries.  A lot of my recipes in the past have used raspberry jam, so pineapple was a good change.

As far as taste, let me first state that this recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan.  In the preface to the recipe, she made a note that these were addictive.  Turns out that she was absolutely right.  This recipe has landed on my "keeper" list.  I had to put these baked morsels away up before they were all eaten by my company, exclaiming they could not stop.  I am glad I saved some dough back and put in the freezer for another time.

Lastly, do not let the above picture fool you in size.  These are little filled pastries made with 2-3 inch squares of dough folded in half. Using a 2 1/4 inch square cookie cutter, this recipe makes about 4 dz pastry cookies.  Be sure to allow for the chill time of 3 hours or more for the dough when planning to make these.

Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pufflets
adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
3/4 cup or 8 oz cottage cheese
1/4 cup pineapple jam (or any favorite jam, marmalade or preserves)
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup flour
confectioners sugar (for dusting)

First, the butter, salt and sugar will need to be creamed together.  Place those ingredients in the bowl of food processor or bowl for a hand or stand mixer.  Run the food processor or mixer on medium high for one minute.  Then scrape down bowl and run again for another minute.  The mixture will turn from lumpy to smooth.  Add the cottage cheese and vanilla extract to the bowl and repeat the beating process as outlined in the previous sentences.

Fold in the flour in 3 increments with a wooden spoon or the pulse function on your food processor.  Once a dough is formed and there are no streaks of flour, it is ready to be chilled.  Place dough on plastic wrap and form into a flat rectangle, then cover completely and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours.

While the dough is chilling, dust a flat surface with flour. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  15 minutes prior to taking the dough out of refrigerator, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove dough and divide in half.  Place one half on the floured surface and cover one half with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.  Dust a rolling pin and lightly dust the surface of the dough.  Roll out until the dough is only 1/8 " thick.  Then cut the dough using a square cookie cutter.  The square cutter can range anywhere from 2 1/4 inches to 3 inches.  The dough should be cut and rolled into about 2 dz cookies, if you are using a 2 1/4 cutter and less with a larger cutter.

Place the dough squares about 1/2 an inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  Place about 1/4 tsp of jam off center onto each dough square.  Moisten all  the dough edges with water using your fingers. Then fold dough over and press down to seal.  The end result is little pastries that look like miniature turnovers.  Also, since the dough does puff during baking, poke the center of each with a toothpick to allow the air to escape. 

Take one filled baking sheet and put in oven and let bake until done.  When done, the pastries will be golden brown on the edges. The bake time is approximately 10-15 minutes.  Once the pastries are done baking, remove pan and transfer pufflets to a cooling rack.  While still warm, dust with confectioners sugar.  Complete the same forming, filling and baking process until all the dough is baked into pastries.  Then finish dusting the baked pufflets with confectioners sugar.

Tips and Notes:
1. Be careful using the jam filling, taking care so that you do not overfill the pastry and the dough edges are sealed.  If any filling seeps out it will either carmelize or burn. The measurement of jam suggested above is based on the 2 1/4 inch square cookie cutter.

2. The recipe states you can create the pufflets in advance and freeze them.  Just pull them out of the freezer and bake, adding only 2 more minutes for baking.  Advance freezing can be up to 2 months as long as they are sealed tightly.

3. If I made these again, I would probably make them larger so I could use more filling.

4. A flat, floured surface is the easiest method for rolling. Rolling between 2 sheets of wax or plastic wrap (as the recipe suggests) makes for easy clean up, but there is more chance that the dough may stick, especially to the sheet that covers the top of the dough.

5. These can be served warm or room temperature.

                               **THREE YEARS AGO: Cinnagrog Pie**