Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Over the Moon

Happy Tuesday, Kitschies!!  It's a little bit different here at work today.  My docs aren't in, but that doesn't mean I get to skip out of work, too.  I didn't have to be here at any specific time, which was nice, but it also means that we get to do the fun stuff that we don't have time to get to during a regular day (like super cleaning, painting scrapes in the wall, etc).  Either way, it gives me plenty of time to do a post for you.

And just like I promised yesterday, I'm bringing you a great dessert (or possibly breakfast) recipe.  Just a warning...it might be a long post.  A while back when I went to the library with my son, I browsed the cookbook section.  I grabbed The Weekend Baker, partly because of the name, and partly because it was about baking.  I thumbed through the recipes and this one caught my eye first.  This recipe required a lot of trial and error on my part.  I'll explain in a bit.

Half Moon Pie Pockets
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, 9 1/2-inch square, each
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp sugar

Pumpkin Spice Filling:
1 cup canned solid-packed pumpkin
2 Tbsp canned solid-packed pumpkin
3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
12 tsp ground nutmeg 

Remove both sheets of puff pastry from the box, set them on a lightly floured surface, and cover with plastic wrap. Do NOT unfold at this point. Let the covered puff pastry sit on the counter top until thawed and just pliable, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, position the oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 425*. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment or a non-stick liner. Have ready the beaten egg plus 2 Tbsp sugar.

On a lightly floured work surface, carefully unfold pastry. Dust the top of the pastry with a little flour. Roll out each sheet, lightly dusting with flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and work surface, into a 12 inch square. Using a 4" round cookie cutter, cut out 18 circles. Peel away the scraps and cover the rounds with plastic wrap while preparing the filling. 

Select a filling and combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until blended. 

Place about 1 Tbsp of filling on the center of the round. Brush the edge of the dough with egg. Fold half the dough over the filling to form a half-moon. Using the tines of a fork, press the curved edge to seal tightly. Repeat with remaining rounds. (At this point, the pie pockets can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 8 hours or frozen up to 1 month before proceeding with the recipe.).

Arrange the pockets on the prepared sheet pans, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the remaining egg and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Bake until pastry is puffed and browned, 20 to 25 minute Transfer the sheet pans to racks to cool. Serve warm. 

Pie pockets can be baked up to 6 hours ahead and reheated in a 300* oven until warm, about 15 minute. 

NOTES:  There were recipes for additional fillings (chocolate nut and strawberry, but since it's Fall, I went with pumpkin spice).  The recipe says to let the dough stand out for about 20 minutes to thaw - I found that 20 minutes was not near long enough to make the dough pliable.  I reheated these up in the micro the next morning and they were still pretty tasty, though not quite as good as straight out of the oven.  A word of warning, though.  The filling is HOT!  Like, oven hot.

So.  The first baking recipe I chose to try and I quickly realize that my kitchen isn't *quite* stocked for this kind of baking.  I'm used to just add whatever, mix and throw it in the oven for Baby and me.  First, it called for a 4" round cutter, so I bought a 3-piece round cutter set.  Well, apparently I can't read because it was a 3" cutter.  *sigh*  So, I made due and used the lid to my flour container as the cutter.  It worked, I can't complain.  Second, I don't have a rolling pin.  I used to, but I think it got co-opted by a family Christmas pie baking function.  So, I dug through Nate's blocks and pulled out a round wood block.  It wasn't perfect, but again, it worked.  LOL
Once you have the rounds cut out (which, by the way, there was exactly 18 rounds, just like it said), you brush the edges with egg to create a sort of glue for the pocket.  For some reason, our two pastry/basting brushes were in the dish washer, which was running at that very moment.  Of course.  So, I found a long handled paint brush.  It worked.  *sigh*  Noticing a trend here?  
Place 1 Tbsp of filling in the center of the cutout.  This was really the perfect amount though I think I was a little generous on a couple of them because some of the filling peaked out when I pressed them close.
See?  It looks like a little tongue sticking out.  LOL  I was afraid these wouldn't close very well, but it was no trouble at all.
Here's the first batch - pretty as can be - ready for their tanning session.  Brushed with egg wash and dusted with sugar.  So, here's a question for you.  What's the first rule of baking?  Always wear protection.  Doesn't make sense?  It will here in a minute.

Oh, the horror!  They're a little crispy.  Why?  Because I forgot the first rule of baking: Always wear protection.  *sigh*  I don't know why I forgot because I just made apple pie the week before and used the pie hat.  Luckily I only this kind of mistake once.  I tented the next batch and they came out much better.  Don't fret - they all got eaten regardless of degree of toastiness.
Ahhh...much better!  I think the hubs ate at least 3 of these that night.  I tented the second batch for half the cooking time.  You can tell by this picture that my oven doesn't cook evenly.  Some day I'll get a new oven.  Some day.

One more question for you.  The recipe in my cookbook said to reserve the scraps but never says what to do with said scraps.   I could've rolled it all out and made more pockets, but that means I'd have to make more filling.  And I don't have a proper rolling pin, so I probably would've ended up with a big doughy mess and not pretty puff pastries.  What would you have done with the scraps?

I think I'm going to actually go get some work done.  I hope you enjoyed this installment of Adventures In Baking.  Don't forget to hop on over to my Recipe Exchange - today is the last day to join in the fun!  I'll have emails sent out to the participants by Thursday.

Listening to: This is Your Life by The Killers
Mood: slackin'


shortmama said...

Those sound yummy!

Liz (iceomatic's nails) said...

YUM! I bet your kitchen smelled so good when these were baking! What is a pie hat?

Danielle said...

Mmm, those look good, overly toasty or not :) I have half a can left of pumpkin from the weekend ( i made pumpkin spice cupcakes!) I wanna find a unique recipe to use it in :)

Copyboy said...

Yum!!! I just had lunch and I'm hungry all over again.

Debra said...

Yum! want to come visit and eat good food. :)

Lu said...

So yummy! I love your improvisations. My kitchen and your kitchen must be in the same sad state of stockedness... I never have round cutters the right size (or cutters of any shape, for that matter), so I end up using jar lids or folded strips of tin foil folded into whatever shape. And I've used a salt container (not the shaker but the big tube-thingy) to roll out dough more than once. I finally bought a rolling pin, but since then, I haven't rolled out dough once. Its only work has been to crush graham crackers!

Stray Stitches said...

Looks delish. Remind me when you are home for Christmas to give you a rolling pin - I have two - and, no, one of them is not yours - lol. One is mine and the other belonged to Grammie

SilhouetteScreams said...

Nom! I have no idea what I'd do with the pastry :| I'm a bit of a pastry freak so I'd probably end up cooking it plain and then eating it LOL

Christopher And Tia said...

I haven't had anything pastry-like in YEARS. I'd totally eat the burnt ones, haha.

Lacquer Ware for Tips and Toes said...

Excellent post. They can't all be golden and sometimes those of us that do a lot of baking do a BIG FLOP for some reason or another...and what's worse, sometimes I still try to eat part of it just to see if it tastes as bad as it looks (LMAO at me for being so silly, but there it is, the truth!).

I remember a cake that dropped on me when I was in high school and baking. It was a recipe I'd made many times and it had always turned out. Just sunk right down so there was cooked cake sunk into uncooked goo. It tasted awesome (I know, that was sick, but true). I love learning so much when baking. :)