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Raspberry Orange Pop-Ups

July 29, 2012
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Have you ever tried a recipe from an unlikely source, only to find that it’s absolutely fabulous?  There are some popular cookbooks that nearly everyone owns, but I think everybody has one cookbook in their kitchen that unexpectedly turned out to be a cache of gold-standard recipes.  My not-so-secret kitchen underdog is this Land O’Lakes Cookbook.  It’s chock full of hearty, delicious recipes like chicken kiev and chicken and dumplings; it has a recipe for deep-dish pizza cooked in a cast-iron skillet (how could you say no to that?) and the most delicious apricot-filled cream puffs you could ever ask for.

And luckily, while I am away from my treasured book, I have access to the Land O’Lakes website, which I’ve always had luck with.  I’m telling you, I never would have guessed!  That, my friends, is secret #1.

Secret #2: There is another way to cut cold butter into your doughs.  You can use two knives (a technique I’ve never used successfully); you can use a fork; you can use a pastry blender.  Or you can grate your butter directly into your dry ingredients.

Is anyone else hearing a choir of angels?  This is a trick I learned at work, and I finally decided to give it a shot at home.  Turns out it works really well!  It does create one more dirty dish, but it’s less tedious than trying to scrub bits of butter or shortening from between the blades of a pastry cutter.

If you’ve ever tried it, you know I’m right.

This dough is deceptively simple: flour, salt, butter, and sour cream.  The high amount of cold butter is the only leavening agent, but it works wonders.  So you roll the dough out thinly, cutting half of it into regular circles and the remaining half into rings.

Then you construct “pop-ups” (or vol au vents, if you’re feeling traditional), which have a convenient divet in the middle.  Perfect for just a dollop of homemade raspberry jam.

If you keep your butter cold enough and don’t overmix your dough, the pop-ups should puff considerably during baking.  Puffy, crunchy deliciousness without the tedium of lamination!

Land O’Lakes wins again.

And if you’re struck with inspiration, you might throw a hint of orange vodka into your powdered sugar glaze, which will bring a great zing to the raspberry filling.

And they’re only 1 1/2″ across, so they’d make perfect hors d’oeuvres.  Or, you know, a dangerously pop-able snack to keep around the house… I’ll leave that part up to you.  Enjoy!

—————————–

Adapted from this recipe from Land O’Lakes

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1 c. cold butter

2/3 c. sour cream

Water

2/3 c. raspberry jam

Glaze:

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. milk

1/4 tsp. orange-flavored vodka

1. Preheat the oven to 400º.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the salt and the flour.

3. Grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients.  Using your hands, toss the butter with the dry ingredients until it is  evenly coated with flour and the butter is broken into uniform pieces.

4. Add the sour cream and mix with a spoon just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to be rolled out, about 1 hour.

5. Working with only half of the dough at a time so that it doesn’t get too warm, roll the dough to 1/8″ thickness.  Use a 1 1/2″ round cutter to cut all of the dough into circles.  Place half of the circles on a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Using a 3/4″ round cutter, cut a smaller circle out of the remaining circles, making doughnut-shaped rings.

6. To assemble the pop-ups, use a pastry brush dipped in water to lightly brush the rings.  Place the rings water side-down on top of the circles.  Fill each pop-up with 1/4 tsp. of jam.

7. Bake at 400º for 9-11 minutes or until the pastries are puffy and golden brown.

8. Once the pastries have cooled, mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and use a spoon to lightly drizzle it over the pop-ups.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. fiona permalink
    August 26, 2012 1:22 PM

    Grating butter = genius idea, thank you. I’ll be doing using this method for the rest of my days.

    The puff was moderate, probably because instead of sour cream I used (too much) yoghurt+baking powder. Is there much difference between yoghurt and sour cream? And the butter could’ve been colder before grating.

    You know how the pastry is a two-layer construction? If instead you make thicker circles and simply scoop out the middle with a teaspoon, is anything but the aesthetic lost?

  2. August 30, 2012 5:33 PM

    The colder the butter, the better. That will definitely help you get a better rise. I once used a sour cream/yogurt mixture and also had mediocre results… perhaps the lower fat level in the yogurt just doesn’t cut it.

    As for the construction: if you just scoop out the center, you will probably end up compressing the layers, which will inhibit the gluten strands’ rising. It’s a bit more work, but I think it’s worth the extra step to glue the tops and bottoms together!

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