July 05, 2010

From the Baker's Rack: Turnovers (or Fancy Poptarts)

I first made these treasures on a visit to Denver. I tried to sell them as warm, delicious, fruit-filled pastries. Andrew's response was 'do you mean poptarts?'

1. Thaw one sheet of puff pastry dough in the fridge overnight. I usually forget to do this so on the counter for a couple of hours is ok, just make sure the dough is still cold. As with other baked goods centered around butter (biscuits, pie crusts, tart dough), you want the butter to stay very cold to yield a flakier crust.

2. Choose your filling. I went with some frozen mixed berries. If you go with frozen, make sure to thaw the fruit and drain off the liquid. No one likes a soggy turnover.

3. Macerate. Squeeze in a little lemon juice, add sugar to taste, and macerate your fruit. Don't get out of control though. You still want a nice texture.

4. Roll out the dough. You want about a 12x12 inch crust, but I don't worry too much about being exact. Precision behooves you in baking, but you are fine just guessing in this recipe.

Can't find that rolling pin or your boyfriend doesn't have one? A pint glass with a fireman on it will do just the trick.

5. Cut and fill turnovers. Just spoon a little fruit mixture in the middle. You can be the judge on how much, but factor in that you have to fold these in half and have room to seal them. Keep flour sprinkled on your cutting board or counter to avoid stickage.

6. Fold and seal. Press to make sure edges seal tightly. Brush with a egg wash (beaten egg + splash of water).

7. Let the air out. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

8. Place on a baking tray. Unlike poptarts, mine are all completely different sizes. How fun (and unintentional)!

9. Bake at 375 until golden brown. I only have a vague suggestion about the time -- thinking 15-18ish minutes. It is for that reason (among many others) that I will not be writing a cookbook on baking. If truth be told, I am also making up the temp. Somewhere between 350 and 400 will be just fine.

10. Enjoy your warm, delicious, fruit-filled pastry that only vaguely resembles a poptart.

July 01, 2010

DIY Designing: Fabric Art

My hallway was looking a little bland. Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I decided to create my own fabric art. It takes just a few minutes and is easy to customize -- just mix and match your favorite fabric with inexpensive frames.

Gather materials. For three 8x10 pieces of art you will need about one yard of fabric, a hot glue gun, scissors, and three frames.

Trim the fabric so that you have a one-inch border around the cardboard insert that comes in a new frame.

Glue the fabric onto the cardboard. Make sure to keep the fabric taught as you work your way around. We don't want any funny folds!

Continue gluing and folding until all four sides are done.

If you heeded my warning and kept the fabric tight as you worked your way around, you should end up with a crisp and wrinkle-free fabric board.

Frame the fabric board as you would a picture. Repeat process as many times as you want.

Hang on the wall and enjoy!