Guest Blogger Zacchary Bird
I’m into indulgent food that looks and tastes like it shouldn’t be vegan, just to prove we can. See all recipes by Zacchary
"In the great Australian tradition of bastardising international cuisines, the vanilla slice is like a French mille-feuille that walked through a bad neighbourhood and was relieved of its valuables. Even though they left only a simple vanilla custard sandwiched between two sheets of puff pastry (with a glimmer of tangy passionfruit in the glaze), you won't feel robbed at all of deliciousness." Recipe extracted from pg 150 of Zacchary Bird's new cookbook, The Vegan Baker.
Serves 10 | Prep time: 15 mins + chilling time | Cooking time: 30 mins
MAKE IT CHOCOLATEY!
When you remove the custard from the stove, stir in 100 g (3 1/2 oz) crumbled dark chocolate and 30 g (1 oz) Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder, and replace the icing with the Ganache on page 31.
[Recipe extracted from pg 48 of The Vegan Baker by Zacchary Bird]
HARD | Makes 1.1 KG (2 LB 7 OZ)
“While seemingly simpler than other laminated doughs, given there is no yeast to prove, puff pastry presents its own challenges by demanding hundreds of ﬁne layers brought about by six different folds. Due to this high number of folds, when using more temperamental dairy-free butter it is especially important to fully chill the dough between each fold, and not attempt back-to-back passes, in order to preserve those pastry layers. When baking with puff pastry, make sure that the edges are always cut and not folded, nor coated with the wash applied to the rest of the pastry, as sealing the pastry edges will interfere with rising. Remember, the carefully rolled layers rely on heat to leaven them with steam, so make sure your oven is preheated adequately, to coax the pastry to puff!”
To make the détrempe (dough), add the flour, butter and salt to a food processor and pulse until the butter is finely distributed. Continue to pulse while slowly pouring in the milk until it is all used – you may need to add more milk in small splashes until the dough begins to ball up. Using a food processor helps to slow the forming of gluten, making for crispier pastry. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Prepare the beurrage (butter). Spread a sheet of baking paper over a large work surface that you can easily roll the dough out on later. Place the block of cold butter on top, and sandwich it between another sheet of baking paper. Use a rolling pin to gently bash and flatten the butter. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges to form a smooth 15 cm (6 in) square. Add the excess butter back on top, sandwich again between baking paper and beat the butter into the square, so it is nice and even. Move to the next step ONLY when the beurrage has had 1 hour to collect itself in the fridge.
Laminate the dough using the guide on pages 46–47, to complete six letter folds. If you aren’t living in a cold environment, or your kitchen is warm, completely chill the wrapped dough for an hour in the fridge or freezer between each fold, aiming to keep the dough at all times below 10°C (50°F). When all the folds have been completed, seal the dough in a large zip-lock bag in the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge as required. The fridge will buy you at most 3 days, and the freezer several months.
The fully chilled puff pastry should then be rolled out to a 5 mm (1/4 in) thickness to use in recipes. If you cut the pastry into 24 cm (9 1/2 in) squares after rolling – roughly the same size as a store-bought sheet of puff pastry – you’ll easily be able to substitute your homemade pastry in recipes that use commercially made versions.
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