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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

one from the vault: puff pastry challenge 3000

Even though the famed Puff Pastry Challenge 3000 happened this past fall, I thought it'd be nice to tell you about it here so you can have access to the winning recipe.

First, the Puff Pastry Challenge 3000 was a showdown between Drew and me for the title of best turnover. We served them head-to-head to a panel of 4 judges, including Tott, and they filled out scorecards.I made a green apple & caramel turnover, a pumpkin marscapone turnover, and a brie & honey turnover. Drew made a nutella & marshmallow turnover, a cherry & pineapple turnover, and a sweet potato & candied bacon turnover.

This little beauty, the brie & honey turnover, won. Of course, I shamelessly pandered to the judges--I happened to know that both my sister and Tott are cheese-aholics. I couldn't go wrong with Brie. Nor, for that matter, can you. These are easy and would make fantastic first courses or dessert courses. In fact, they're a kind of cheese course/dessert course rolled into one. Efficiency!

I'd serve them with a nice tawny port or a madeira, but that's probably just because I happen to like those drinks, not because I understand the nuances of wine pairing.

Brie & Honey Turnovers--Winner of the Puff Pastry Challenge 3000

1 package of brie, rind cut off
1 cup of dried cherries
1 cup fig preserves
toasted walnuts pieces
puff pastries

Defrost puff pastry. Roll out onto floured work surface. Cut puff pastry into circles with a cookie cutter or a glass. Roll each circle out until slightly thinner and bigger with a rolling pin or a glass. Store in fridge.

Put dried cherries in hot water and a spoonful of brandy to let rehydrate. Drain. Take puff pastries out of fridge. Add 2 spoonfuls of brie, a little fig preserves, a few rehydrated cherries, and a few walnuts. Brush egg white around the edges of puff pastry, then fold gently in half. Crimp edges closed with tines of fork. Poke a few holes in top of pastry to let steam escape. Bake on paper-lined baking sheet according to puff pastry package instructions. When finished baking, pour honey over the top of each pastry and garnish with more walnuts.

Look how sad he is! Mwah ha ha! He, of course, demands a rematch. Next time, I think it will be an amuse bouche (appetizer for you country folk) challenge. I shall prevail again.

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