The Huffington Post's "The Week of Eating In" blog posted an intriguing topic: Foods that are perceived to be hard to make. Their top five choices in order of difficulty (according to users) were poached eggs, polenta, and bechamel sauce followed by risotto and bread. I was surprised as the first three dishes require only a bit of finesse, the bread needs time, and risotto warrants attention but none are multi-step nor labor/ ingredient intensive. What follows is my own list of laborious recipes, ones that are the culinary equivalent of a triple toe loop. Feel free to add to my list in the comments below. And P.S.: What's incredibly easy to make? Butter.
2. Coq au vin
7. Puff pastry (see the full recipe below)
8. Baked Alaska
10. Sourdough bread
Quick Puff Pastry
Epicurious | 2000
Yield: Makes 2 1/2 pounds
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 1/2 sticks (3 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, chilled
1 cup cold water
1. Sift together the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
2. Add chilled, diced butter and pulse three to five times, until the butter pieces are about the size of lima beans. Add water to the mixture and pulse again about three times. Invert the crumbly mass onto a lightly floured work surface.
3. Using a rolling pin and bench scraper, shape the mass into a long rectangle. Use the bench scraper and carefully flip one third of the rectangle toward the center. Then, flip the other end to the center, like folding a business letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees.
4. Reshape and roll the dough into a rectangle. Repeat the folding and rotating process three more times for a total of four turns. If the dough becomes soft or sticky during this process, immediately refrigerate until firm.
5. After four turns, wrap the dough in plastic wrap. With your finger, make four indentations in the dough - one for each time the dough has been turned. This is a reference point for how many times the dough has been turned. Refrigerate the dough at least 45 minutes or until firm.
6. After the dough has been refrigerated for 45 minutes, unwrap it and discard the plastic. Keep your work surface and rolling pin well floured. Press down on each of the four sides of dough to seal its shape.
7. Start with the rolling pin at the center. Roll away from you. Return to the center and roll toward you. Repeat the folding and rotating process of the dough two more times for a total a total of six times.
8. After the sixth turn, wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate to make sure it is well-chilled before baking. Quick Puff Pastry keeps refrigerated up to three days or frozen for several months.
By Tanya Steel
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