March went by so fast! Too many hours spent at the computer, too little hours in the kitchen, if you ask me. The blog was terribly neglectes, I’m afraid, and once again, the recipe for the facebook group I belong to got pushed to the very last minute. Again. The theme was regional sweets and the recipe I ended up choosing was a special request by my brother Miguel.
“Travesseiros” means “pillows” in portuguese, and refer to a almond and egg cream filled puff pastry rectangle. Traditionally from Sintra, a beautiful little town north of Lisbon, we often travel the distance just to taste these delicious pastries. If by “taste” you mean “devour at full speed, right out of the oven, burn your tongue, swear a little, and then repeat”. And they never taste quite the same outside of Sintra.
The challenge was a big one, as I didn’t have the time to fine-tune it and I didn’t find a suitable recipe for them online. I didn’t think I had a chance, but I was willing to try and write about the experiment, even if it was a failed one.
There was a lot of guess work, but turns out I got lucky. When they came out of the oven, I could hardly believe it: they were pretty damn close to the original ones. Ask my brother, he’s very demanding, and thought they were spot on.
Rough Puff Pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 250g unsalted butter, cold
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125ml iced water
In a food processos fitted with a blade, add the flour, the salt and the diced butter and pulse a few times until roughly blended. You can also do it by hand, bye whatever you chose to do, don’t over process.
Add the iced water and pulse a couple more times. Pour the mix onto a floured surface and knead quickly until it forms a ball. Cover in cling filme and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour the surface and rolling pin. Knead the pastry lightly and shape it as a rectangle. Roll it in on direction until it’s thin and roughly twice as long as it is wide. Fold down the top third and then fold up the bottom third, overlapping the three layers of pastry. Turn it 90º and roll it up again until the inicial size. Fold again in the same way, then turn, and roll again. You should fold it 4 times, in total, placing it in the fridge for a few minutes between folds if the weather is too hot.
Cut the pasty in two identical rectangles, cover in cling film and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
Puff pillows (“Travesseiros”)
- 1 recipe of rough puff pastry
- 6 egg yolks
- 250g sugar (plus some more to sprinkle)
- 125ml water
- 125g ground almonds
In a bowl, cut through the yolks with a knife.
Add the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. When it starts boiling, count 5 minutes and remove from head.
Very slowly, pour the sirup over the egg yolks, mixing carefully. Mix in the ground almonds. Pour it back in the saucepan and cook it over medium heat for another 5 minutes, mixing continuously. Remove from heat and let it cool.
Heat the oven to 200ºC.
Roll half of the pastry until about 3 or 4mm thick. Divide into 4 rectangles. Drop a spoonful of the mix in the middle of each rectangle, using only the middle third. Brush the rest of the surface with cold water. Fold the outer thirds of pastry onto the filling, without squeezing too much, to form a pillow. Press down on the sides to keep the filling in. Repeat with the other half.
Place the pillows side by side in a paper lined tray and bake for 25 minutes or until they start to golden. Sprinkle with sugar and serve still warm.
Dia Um… Na Cozinha: please visit the group page on FB and checkout what everyone else cooked today.