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General    ^


Puff-dough is a healthy and tastefull dough to make pastries from.
It's often used for light cookies and pies or specially formed cakes.
It is also used in general cooking.
There are three way to 'make' puff dough.

First there is the ready-made 'sheets' you can buy, you only have to form and bake them. Fast and easy.

Second there are the packets of puff-dough-mix. You just have to add water, mix well to get a ball of dough. You also have to roll it into sheets (if you want sheets).

Third there is the old way, starting from basics. It takes a lot of time (needs to 'rest' overnight) and effort to do it right.


When I have the time and when I can plan ahead (biiiig problem) I always go for the third method. It alows me to use my imagination to spice up the dough and play with variations. Nothing is impossible.

Usually I go for the second method. Because it is a bit easier and much faster. I can add a pesonal touch to the taste and I still have full controll over the shape.

If possible (=always) I stay away from the 100% ready sheets, the just bake and be done stuff. You have no control over the taste which is usually tuned to be bland enough to fit the widest possible audience (tastes much like sweetened cardboard). And there is nothing you can do to influence the thickness which is sometimes crucial. Yes, you can apply two sheets but that is entirely different from a thicker rolled layer.


How to make it.    ^


Sample usage    ^


Ingredients: (per person)
1 gilthead
200g puff-dough (one sheet, 0.7mm thick and large enough to pack the fish in)
100g rice
herbs: coriander, cumin, basil, ginger (ground), rosemary and thyme (one measure of each). Maybe also a few pepper-grains (and some rough salt) and some finely chopped garlic (dried garlic is, for once, acceptable).


Mix the herbs in a mortar and crush them together.

Make your puff-dough.

While it rests you clean the gilthead. It is easiest to have it cleaned by the fishmonger where you buy it. (You do buy it at a fish monger of course, shring-wrapped fish doesn't count as food.) While fishmongers are fast and efficient at cleaning their wares they are not really effective so when you get home you should inspect the fish corpses and finish the job. If you have time to spare and a cat or some wild birds to feed you should buy you'r fish as fresh and un-handled as possible and do the gutting and beheading yourself.

OK, you should have the puff-heads cleaned by now.

Per fish you ...
Roll the dough into a sheet, about 7mm thick and big anough to envelop the fish. Dab a bit of olive oil on the fish and smear the herbs on it, both sides and in the empty belly. put the fish on the dough and fold it so the whole fish is inside. Use some water (wet-fingers) to make the dough-rims stick together.
Repest this for all the fishes (I hope you don't have to do to many of them ^_^).


When they are all packed you just shove them in the oven (180C) for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

During that half hour you have time to prepare and cook the rest of the meal. I prefere rice with some mushrooms and paprika but you can just as well cook potatoes with some other vegetables or cook some pasta with a light sauce. You have 30 minutes and your imagination. Together that should be sufficient.


I cut up some mushrooms and half a red paprika and put them (with a drop of olive oil) in a dish in the oven beside the cooking fish. I only put them in for about 20 minutes. Once they were in I cooked my rice. The rice was finished a bit early but that's no problem because, when not overcooked already, it can be heated up easily by putting it for a few second in a microwave. Or just put it in the oven (gas-off) while you move out the fish, it won't be in more than a couple of minutes but that should be enough to keep it hot.

You serve the fish, still packed on a plate. It is not the intention that the puff-dough is eaten but the parts where the herbs stick in are quite nice as a sort of fill-up for nibling after the rest has found it's new home. ^__^


Dificult and crumbly, but the best.

© 2008 Swijsen