Sunday, 19 January 2014

Not Everything that is Twisted, is Bitter...

Pasticciotto di Mela, Cannella, Albicocca, Uva Secca, Mandorla & Zenzero Candito
Apple, Cinnamon, Apricot, Raisin, Almond & Candied-Ginger Pastry

No my friends, some things that are twisted are indeed sweet and lovely- like this wonderful-looking pastry here :-) At the same time, it was not overly sweet, as apart from a very light glaze of honey, the only other sweetness was provided by the ingredients within- there was no sugar added and you will agree if you give this a go, that there is indeed none needed! And I like that!

The preparation of this is absolutely identical to the twisted focaccia bread that you may have seen here a few weeks ago- only this time I used a sweet filling and a puff-pastry rather than a pizza base. Life is too short to complicate it for no reason, just for the sakes of making something wonderfully "home-made"- right, readers?

As you can see in the image below- you need only an incredibly small amount of ingredients to make such an opulent and delicious pastry- people do tend to over-do it sometimes when it comes to sweets I think. So let's take a look- what do we have? 1 small apple of your choice, 1 small handful of raisins, 1 good handful of almonds, 4-5 dried apricots and a couple of slices of candied ginger- I literally only used 2 of them, even though I have more in the photo because it looked prettier :-)

The only prep-work involved was: grating the apple- which I didn't even peel (good fibre!) and finely chopping the apricots, almonds and ginger... you can see it right there below! THAT ladies and gentlefolks- is not what I consider hard work- and neither is the next part- it is in fact FUN!

The next thing to do is to unroll your sheet of puff pastry and to spread out your little collection of goodies over it evenly. It really makes no great difference, but I began with the apple, as it is the moistest ingredient and I wanted to make sure it got spread out well and didn't clump together too much as that would have made the pastry soggy later. So again- just spread everything out as nicely and evenly as you can and then give it a nice dusting of cinnamon- apples best friend :-)

Once everything is evenly distributed, all that needs to be done is for the pastry to be rolled up as nicely and tightly as you can manage. The best way to have the least problems is to simply work quickly- puff-pastry soon becomes soft... and I mean REALLY soft, if you allow it to get to room temperature... so the colder it is, the firmer it is and the easier it is to handle.

Once you have the pastry all rolled together, using the sharpest knife you have, cut down the length of it. Sounds strange but that's what you do! And this is when you need to be gentle and a little more careful as you lay one strip of dough over the other... but it's not rocket science and if I managed it then you can too!

Carefully bring the 2 ends of the pastry twist together and indeed, if necessary, squeeze the dough together to make sure it stays in its intended shape. 

I then carefully transferred the pastry to an oven-proof dish and baked it in a pre-heated oven, for 30-45 minutes at a moderate high heat of around 300°F... this does need a little while longer as you do want the pastry to bake all the way through and not to simply brown on the outside and be soggy on the inside.

After about 40 minutes, I took the pastry out of the oven and added a light drizzle of honey- this made the pastry lovely and brown, the almonds crisp and the ginger and apricot super chewy and delicious- mmmm!

And there you have it folks- another super as can be little dish that looks mighty difficult to make and is perfect to impress and delight your friends with... just make sure you bake a couple of them, because they may well just disappear as soon as you fetch them out of the oven!

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