Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I've been holding onto this set of recipes I clipped out of the paper for over a year now, because they look so delicious, and never had the guts to try it. The instructions are super complicated, and the pictures are all fancy. The article has this sidebar that says stuff like, 'Don't skip the 3 different resting times!' and 'Make sure the dough is cool, but not too cold!' and 'Don't worry if the first 7nty billion times you try it don't turn out right!' Either I have very low standards, or it isn't nearly as complex as the recipe says.
Use 1/2 recipe of the ubiquitous pizza dough. It's fine, or even better, if it has been sitting in the fridge for rather longer than you like to think about.
Let the dough sit on the counter for about an hour, lightly flour the rolling surface, and roll the dough into a mostly rectangular shape about 11" x 14". Take a stick of butter out of the fridge, and cut about 3 tablespoons worth of very thin shavings off it, and sprinkle them on 2/3 of the dough. Sprinkle a couple pinches of sugar over it.
Fold the un-buttered part of the dough over half the buttered part, then fold it again so all the butter is inside. Roll the dough out until it's about 8 x 12 inches, very lightly sprinkle it with flour and sugar, and fold it in 3 parts again.
Roll it out until it's about 5 x 10 inches, and fold it in 3 parts again. Pinch the sides of the folds together tightly, pat it into a ball, and put it on a pie plate. It'll be about the size of a baseball, but flatter. Sprinkle the outside generously with sugar, and put a bowl over it while you pre-heat the oven to 450. Once the oven is hot, cut 3 slashes in an asterisk shape about 1/3 the way through the dough, and sprinkle with sugar again to cover all the exposed insides of the cuts. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt on it. Bake for about 35 minutes.
1. I suspect that leaving the dough until it is way over fermented helps it retain its layered structure. It also tastes more interesting.
2. If you aren't sure, be more generous with the butter. The butter is the main thing that keeps the dough from merging back into one big lump.
3. Use salted butter. And go heavy on the sugar on the outside.
4. If you have time, sure, you can let the dough rest between foldings. It will undoubtedly help create layering, but it's ok if you don't.
5. It will be sitting in a pool of melted butter by the time it's done. That's normal.
6. Eat it hot! It is not nearly as good cold, although it is ok if you toast it again later.
That's kinda it. The first time I tried it, my dough was about 10 days old, and it rose a lot less in the oven. On the other hand, the layers were more distinct. The second time, it was more bready, but still quite tasty. I think I squashed the dough a little too hard, and it merged the layers back together. But so what? I gather that these things were invented as a way to use up scraps of dough, so I think that having the process be somewhat approximate stays true to the original intent of just preventing waste. The name is some weird french dialect; it means Queen Anne. The shape of the bread is supposed to resemble a little crown.