Saturday, July 13, 2013

Braided pastry logs


My sister-in-law is a great cook. During my visit to Montreal to see her, I got to taste her pastry puffs. She made them into squares with ground beef and red pepper filling. They were so delicious that I enjoyed every bite of them!  I loved the texture of the pastry dough so much that I got this recipe from her to share with you all.

I gave a twist to this recipe by shaping the puffs in the form of a braided log. This not only gave a unique look but also kept the filling moist. And this time I used my own indian style filling which also enhanced the taste of the pastry well. You could in fact use any filling of your choice. And shape the pastry in your own way. Here's the recipe!

Ingredients: 

For the Pastry Dough:
White Flour - 3 cups
Eggs - 1
Butter (chilled) - 1/2 cup
Sour cream - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 1
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tbs

For the Beef filling: 
Ground Beef - 1 lb
Onions - 2 (medium size)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1tsp
Coriander - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tomato paste - 1 tbs
Green chillies - 1 big or two small ones.
Cilantro - 1/4 cup
Cloves - 4
Green Cardamoms - 4
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs
White flour (just to sprinkle) - 1 tsp

Egg wash 
1 egg white beaten with one tbs milk

Pastry dough:

1. First to make the pastry dough, add baking powder, salt and sugar to the white flour and pulse the food processor one or two times.

2. Cut the chilled butter into small cubes and add to the processor, then pulse again.

3. Now add the beaten egg and sour cream. Combine everything well on low speed.

4. Remove dough and knead it with a little flour if it is too moist. Cover with a damp towel and set aside. 

Ground Beef Filling: 

1. Rinse the ground beef in a sieve. Keep a bowl under it and let it drain a bit.

2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium heat. Fry half the finely sliced onions till soft and slightly golden.

3. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chilly powder and coriander powder. Mix well.

4. Roast the ground beef with salt in the masala till the water drains and it leaves an aroma. This will take 4-5 mins. Add tomato paste with half a cup water.  Sprinkle a little flour to make it bind. Mix well.

5. Cut the green chillies into small pieces on the cutting board with the remaining onions after sprinkling a little bit of salt. Crush the onions with the green chillies and salt and incorporate everything together with the knife. This makes  the onions sweat a little and also gives a flavour to the filling.
  
6. Add this onion mixture to the ground beef on top. Keep the cloves and cardamoms on one side of the pan. Top with chopped cilantro. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes till the water is absorbed and the filling is moist. Remove from stove.

7.Mix well and leave it to cool. Before using the filling don't forget to remove the cloves and cardamoms.

Method:

1. Roll the pastry dough into a big circle on the pastry board. Divide into 2 semi circles. Roll and shape each into a rectangle around 4"x9". 

2. Mix grated cheddar cheese with the ground beef filling and spread it horizontally on one side of the pastry sheet as seen in the picture.



3. Gently roll the pastry over half way while tucking the filling inside like a log. Make slits at the edge on the other side as in the picture.

4. Brush the edges of the strips with egg wash.

5. Now criss cross the strips on the log and stick them on the opposite side. The egg wash at the ends makes them stick well. Braid in the same fashion till the end of the log.

6. Brush with egg wash and finally to decorate sprinkle with black poppy seeds. Make sure the bottom of the logs is dry. So dust the pastry board with flour before working on the logs. 

7. Transfer the logs to a cookie sheet, greased and dusted with flour.
















8. Bake the logs in an oven preheated at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20 - 25 mins till golden brown. Cut the braided pastry logs int 3 inch pieces and enjoy!