4 steps to make a perfectly braided pastry

Whether sweet or savory filling, braided pastry serves as a gorgeous entrée for a party or easy dinner for those cold lazy winter. Crank up the oven, prep the frozen ready-to-use sheets, add fillings of your choice, make a fancy braid, and while you sit back and relax, watch the heat do its magic as crispy layered pastry is baked to perfection.
puff pastry steps.JPG
Step 1: Prepping
Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C. Dust flour on working area, place the pastry sheet, apply oil/butter and egg wash. For Egg wash and its outcome see guidelines here. I used  1 egg whites diluted with 2 tbsp of water.
Step 2: Filling
Sweet: Apple Cinnamon puff pastry
Sliced apple, use green apple if you prefer the tart, sautéed to caramelize in medium heat with butter and cinnamon power. Add sugar/maple syrup or get creative and layer it with Nutella.
Savory: Spinach Ricotta Puff Pastry
Minced filling works best. A good vegetarian option is pan-fried onion, garlic with a bunch of spinach and a nice layer of ricotta/ feta cheese and seasoning.
puff pastry cinnamon
Step 3: Braid 
Add your filling to prepped pastry sheet, cut slices both side diagonally, like below. Begin braiding and coating with egg wash/water to hold the braid together.
apple puff pastry
Step 4: Baking
Once the oven is preheated to the desired temperature, slide the pastry sheet onto buttered baking tray or use a parchment baking paper. Pop it into the oven for 15-20 mins, watch pastry puff up and the top layer turns golden brown. Once done, set aside for 5 mins to cool down and serve immediately.
puff pastry
The ingredients for this recipe can be easily found at your local grocery store; for my Aussie reader, make a visit to Aldi or Coles.
You will need:
Puff pastry sheets
Egg white – 1
Flour & oil/butter for preparation
Sweet Filling – Apple – 2, cinnamon 1 tsp, Sugar -2 tbsp
Savory Filling – Chopped Spinach 1/2 a bunch, Onion – 1, garlic – 2 pods, Cheese(ricotta/feta) 1/2 cup and salt & seasoning as per taste.
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5 essentials of a perfect cheese platter

There’s a saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” must be true, so I thought to myself that good cheese in cozy ambiance should set the right mood for a romantic dinner. My husband loves cheese and he hoped to find a good restaurant that served a well-assembled cheese board. A homemade cheese platter was long overdue and this was my first time buying cheese for party platter.

VDay dinner tag.jpg

After some research on Google God, I learnt the 5 essentials of a cheese platter:

Good Cheese

Of Course!
Something smooth – Goat cheese or brie cheese
Something bitter – Blue cheese or pesto gouda
Something sharp – Double Gloucester spring onion or aged cheddar
Something crunchy – Provolone or parmesan
Make use of all farm animals, cheese make of cow, goat or sheep milk. Select cheese from a variety of family, texture and age.

The Vehicle

Cracker – Go for neutral cracker, salted cracker, I added some sesame sprinkled cracker
Bread – French bread or sourdough are great choices, keep it plain and simple here

Sides

Olives – Green and black olive soaked in extra virgin olive oil and red paprika
Fruits and juice – easy choice, OJ! Orange juice adding some tangy
Mixed nuts – Add some crunch, pistachios, roasted almond even cashew will do

Dips

Hummus dip – plain or flavored hummus; blends well with cracker and olives
Honey or fruit preserve – adding sweetness in palette

Plating

Yes Plating that’s the fifth essential! You may have the best ingredient in hand but an utterly wrong presentation will be an epic fail when it comes to cheese platter. Get creative, slice it dice it, leave a block cheese and serve it in room temperature. Place a few knives extra for your guests.
What more would  you need? Well, lots of food love, finesse and don’t forget to dress up your dinner table a little

Vdinner

…and that’s my celebratory post, my 67th blog post on the third anniversary of my blogging experience.
Tip: Bangalore foodies can visit the cheese and produce section of Nature’s Basket or Gourmet Westside for most these ingredients. Have fun!

 

Coffee lovers’ dessert

A few year ago, after a decent Italian dinner at a local restaurant, my friends and I shared this delicious dessert. Soft yet rich, sweet and subtle on the palette, this coffee flavored dessert was the highlight of the dinner.
tiramisu-layers
Later when I started blogging, it was mostly about jewelry and art until I decided to create a go-to place for all my recipes. The recipe for this Italian delicacy tiramisu and home-made ladyfinger had to go up here…
Tiramisu
Buy it ready-made or bake it at home, good lady-finger cookies are a ‘must have’ to make tiramisu. On my first try, I adapted the food network recipe to make the ladyfingers, which turned out pretty good. But this time,  I took a short-cut and used the ‘store brought’ ladyfingers. Tiramisu & coffee
Recipes
There may be a various ways to make tiramisu, but the traditional method is to make it with mascarpone cheese with egg yolk. Adding whipped cream just spoils the authenticity of this delicacy.
Find how to double boil the eggs for the authentic tiramisu recipe and how to make home-made lady fingers below… Continue reading

Savory puffs – Tidbits for holidays

Day – night, warm – cold,  jolly – gloomy… there are two extremes to everything in life. Sometimes it’s not as bad as we think it is. Like the way we look forward to a snowy christmas, despite the cold… and so is the perfect combo of sweet and savory dishes to make us feel content.

Try out this very simple yet amazing recipe to make airy-savory puffs with store brought pastry sheets. 

Ingredients Continue reading

Mozzarella onion buns for breakfast!

Sometimes, you think that there are certain dishes that you never cook at home. Bread is one such food in my list of items that cannot be made well at home. Well, I must say that blogosphere is one inspiring place to be! I’m honored to write a guest post for Moms crazy cooking during this holiday season, it’s all about meeting people, good food and happy cheers. 

Mozzarella Onion buns

Whole wheat bread loaf

 I started out looking for yeast and found the recipe on Fleischmann’s website, of course I altered it per our taste.   Continue reading

Lasagna for supper

Priya’s Kitchen usually provides home-cooked indian meals, a little spicy, a little healthy. In recent days, my DH’s craving taste buds and my food blogger friend’s enthusiasm has opened new pantry door through my kitchen….I’m all about trying out easy, breeze, not-so-usual food. I’m surprised how easy and yummy they turned out  for a first-timer. This is my version of  Vegetarian…hmmm actually, Eggetarian Lasagna! 

Veggie lasagna

Ingredients

  • Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Lasagna sheets
  • Formaggio Fresh Marinated Mozzarella Cheese with Fresh Basil & Chopped Garlic 
  • Finlandia Jalapeño Muenster cheese – The real recipe calls for Ricotta cheese
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Prego tomato garlic italian sauce
  • Fresh and frozen vegetable of your choice
  • Onions
  • 3 Eggs & Spinach omelet
  • Garlic, parsley italian herbs
  • Red chili flakes
  • Butter/ Olive oil
  • Salt

Watch the slide show for the layering steps:

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Procedure 

Boil enough water  to immerse the lasagna strips, add 1/2 spoon of salt and few drops of olive oil. Cook until soft, usually 15 to 20 minutes. Continue reading