Showing posts with label puff pastry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label puff pastry. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart

Oops! Got a little happy with the powdered sugar!
It's that time of year again. The freezer is about to burst and some items need to be used before they expire. I happen to have a lot of frozen blueberries.

We have made just about every conceivable blueberry recipe here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Cakes, pies, sauces, scones—you name it! So I went searching for a recipe without much hope. I landed at the Blueberry Council. Who knew there was one?

Much to my delight, I spied a freeform Blueberry tart. But, shhh, you don't have to make the pastry. And guess what else I had in my freezer! Puff pastry dough running up to its expiration date a lot faster than I realized. So this recipe hit it on all counts for me.

Only one problem—they used fresh blueberries, which I did not have. So I substituted frozen blueberries and held my breath. It's really a very simple recipe which could easily be made at the (almost) last minute. You do need to allow the pastry dough to thaw for 30 minutes. And it needs to bake for 30 minutes. So it might not be perfect as a last minute dessert, but it doesn't take a lot of time.

I did make one other big change. They brushed the dough with milk. I used a whisked egg, which probably gives it a prettier color and a shinier look. The real reason I went that way was to use the egg as glue. I didn't think milk would help the pastry stick together and stay where I wanted it to go.

For some reason, I'm always seeing these free form tarts in circles. I have no idea where they find puff pastry in a circle. I always seem to buy a square one. No problem, I thought. Mine will simply be square. As you can see from the photos, it sort of landed in between. When I folded over the edges, I pressed together the corners so the dough would stay up where it belonged. But the corners looked odd and didn't really cooperate so I used the egg wash to glue them and folded them to one side, which worked out perfectly.

Note that there's some cornstarch on top of the blueberries in the pictures. Try not to do that! Most of it was absorbed but it did leave a little dusting.

Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart
based on a recipe from the Blueberry Council

1 frozen puff pastry
2 cups (about 1 10-ounce bag) frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 small egg
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Powdered sugar

Thaw the puff pastry for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Pour the frozen blueberries into a bowl. Add the sugar and cornstarch and toss well.

Whisk the egg. Unfold the puff pastry and pour the blueberries into the middle, leaving a 1 1/2 -inch margin to fold up. Be sure none of the cornstarch is globbed on top. Fold each side up over the blueberries. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside corners and press together. Fold each corner to the side (making sure they all go in the same direction). Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.

Sprinkle the top of the blueberries with cinnamon. Bake 30 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar if you like. Serve hot or cold with ice cream or whipped cream.

Mix blueberries with cornstarch and sugar.

Pour into puff pastry.

Fold up and brush with an egg wash.

The Murder She Barked ebook, the first in this series, is on sale right now for $1.99!  But only for a limited time!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jalousie Anyone?

I admit that I had to look up jalousie to be sure I knew what it meant. It's a blind or shutter made of a row of angled slats. So, the slats aren't exactly angled here but Fine Cooking calls this a Mixed Berry Jalousie, and that's as good a name as any since it has little windows.

There were several things about this recipe that drew me to it, aside from the fact that it looked fabulous. The thing I like the best is that the big ingredients might be in your freezer. They were in mine! I didn't have to go from store to store looking for fresh berries. Nor did I have to make the dough. Pepperidge Farm or other store bought puff pastry does the trick here, which is an enormous time saver.

I also like the fact that you can make the filling ahead of time. Not a bad idea because after it cooks it has to cool. So if you're having company, you could make the filling in advance.

They do say that it's best the day it's made, which is true for most puff pastry recipes. But that didn't stop us from enjoying it the next day as well. 

Be sure to taste the fruit. I found that it definitely needed more sugar. Berries vary widely in sweetness, so don't forget to try it when it's cooked. If they're too sweet, add more lemon. If they're too sour, add more sugar.

I whipped a little cream to go with it, but vanilla ice cream would undoubtedly be fabulous. It also stands on its own just fine.

Mixed Berry Jalousie
from Fine Cooking

14 ounces of frozen mixed berries (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) 
1/4 cup granulated sugar or more to taste  
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice or more to taste
generous pinch cinnamon 
pinch of salt  
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch 
3 tablespoons water
1 large egg  
1 tablespoon water
1 sheet frozen packaged puff pastry
flour for rolling out the dough  
1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
Place berries, sugar, lemon, cinnamon, and salt in a heavy pot and cook over medium high until the berries release liquid and start to bubble. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally 7 - 9 minutes. Remove from heat.
Scoop out the berries and set them aside in a heat proof bowl. Mix the cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water until dissolved and whisk into the juices in the bowl. Over medium high, bring to a boil and stir with a wooden spoon for two minutes. You may need to reduce the heat a bit so it won't burn. It should be very thick. 
Pour it over the berries and mix gently. Taste and adjust sugar or lemon as needed. Set aside to cool. Once cool, it can be refrigerated up to two days.
Thaw the puff pastry according to directions. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash. Preheat oven to 400.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Unfold and patch any holes in the pastry dough. Lightly dust with flour as needed. Roll the dough into a 12 x 14 rectangle. Cut in half so you have two 6 x 14 pieces. 
Place one piece on the parchment paper and paint a 1-inch border around the edge with egg wash. (Note: the recipe suggests using a long spatula to move the dough but I found it easier to loosely roll the dough on my rolling pin.)
Lightly dust the the other piece with flour and gently fold lengthwise, but don't crease (because you will open it again). Cut 1 1/2 inch slashes 1-inch apart on the fold. 
Fill the area inside the egg wash border with the fruit. Hint: if you have large fruit like whole strawberries, move them toward the center. If you get a little fruit on the edge, don't worry about it. Gently move the slashed pastry on top and unfold. Press gently around the edges, then crimp with the tines of a fork.
Brush the top with egg wash. (You will not need all of it) Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15 minutes. Turn baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes more, lifting bottom with a spatula to check for doneness. Use the edges of the parchment paper as handles to lift the jalousie to a cooling rack. Gently pull the parchment paper out from underneath.

Cool at least 45 minutes. Slice and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the cream until it begins to take shape. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until it holds soft peaks.
Frozen berries.
Cook fruit.
Remove berries and mix juices with cornstarch.

Mix berries with cornstarch mixture.

Thaw puff pastry.

Unfold, roll out, and cut in half.

Paint one piece with an egg wash border.

Gently fold (don't crease) and cut slats.

Add the fruit and top with the slatted piece.

Brush with more egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry #recipe #leftovers @AbbottMysteries

By Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffini

Sometimes you want something tasty and fabulous, but you don’t have time to do everything from scratch. Sometimes you want to use up an unexpectedly large amount of leftover ingredients (don't ask!) There are solutions for both of those situations.  Recently we found ourselves with three cups of leftover chicken on a cold and wintry day.  We still had half a box of puff pastry left over from our Mushroom and Asparagus Tart with Puff Pastry recipe and so pulled together this cheerful and warming dish. My hubby said, and I quote, “Wow!” 

Like any kind of creamy filling, you could season this with whatever your favorite flavors are. These ingredients worked well for us. At the end, we had a large dish and enough leftover Chicken Pot Pie for a second lunch although the cunning plan had been to get rid of leftovers. Does this ever happen to you? The good news was that the pie reheated beautifully and the puff pastry was still puffy and not at all soggy. Victoria Maffini (the other half of Victoria Abbott)  dropped in to sample it and confirm the success.

Chicken Pot Pie With Puff Pastry

 All you need is: 


1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and rolled out
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 medium onion, chopped
S & P to taste
¾ cup chicken stock, homemade is best, but purchased is pretty good too.
¾ cup light cream or milk (we used 5 % cream)
2 ¾ cups of cubed, cooked chicken (this was the amount we had – a bit more or less would have been fine too)
Juice of a lemon
1 red pepper, sliced, seeded and cut into small squares
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tbp olive oil. plus1 tbsp butter
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce

All you do is:

Thaw the pastry – remember to do it before (ahem). Thaw the peas too. You don't need to cook them i advance, but they will add a bit of extra liquid if they're frozen when you pop them in. You have been warned.

Preheat oven to 375.  

In a medium skillet heat the tablespoon butter and tablespoon oil.  Saute the red pepper and green onion for about ten minutes.  

Meanwhile, melt the 4 tbsp butter until foaming in a medium-sized saucepan.  

Add the flour and cook over medium heat until it foaming.  Cook for about two minutes, Reduce heat if you need to keep it from browning

Add the milk, stock, lemon, Worchestershire sauce and seasonings, heat until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat and stir until thickened. 


Stir in the chicken, peppers, green onion and peas. Add a bit more cream or stock if it's too thick.  Allow to cool a bit.

Pour into a buttered baking dish.  We used a 10-inch square overproof serving dish.  Top with rolled out puff pastry. 

Cut slits for the steam to escape or it will become soggy.  We like the look of the slashes.  You could make whatever designs you like.

Bake at 375 until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden. 
Being puff pastry, it should puff up nicely.  We baked ours for thirty-five minutes on the lower rack and had to add five minutes.  Ovens vary. 

We were very happy with the results as mentioned above.

This meal started as a problem solver to get rid of leftovers, but we’ll be planning to make it regularly, even if we have to cook the chicken for it.

That shadowy entity known as Victoria Abbott is actually a collaboration between mystery writer Mary Jane Maffini and her artist daughter, Victoria, with inspiration from Peachy the Pug, who has this to say:  Hey! Why doesn't The Peach get a scarf?

They have had a lot of fun writing their book collector mysteries and think it's a pretty tasty series. The fourth book The Marsh Madness is available now

 and the fifth The Hammett Hex will be out in October. Of course, you could  PRE-ORDER HERE!

And why not join the fun with their occasional e-newsletter: contests, dog nonsense, recipes and book new.  Just click HERE to send a message and sign up.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Asparagus Tart with Puff Pastry, Cheese and Mushrooms #recipe #CleanSweepWeek @AbbottMysteries

What a fun theme week this is with all the hidden treasures and occasional terrors found in the back of the cupboard, pantry, freezer and wherever.  Need some detective work to use those odd ingredients?  That's what we're here for. I have been taking note of everyone's great ideas and plan to try them all.  Isn't necessity the mother of invention?


We are nothing if not resourceful.  It’s the perfect month for this challenge because for the second Mystery Lovers Kitchen recipe this month, we’ve been stuck at home because of dangerous road conditions.

That meant I (MJ here) had an extra reason to check out what was in the back of the freezer.  I was on a serious quest for a ‘just before grocery day’ meal made of ingredients that we actually had. 

Turns out I found a package of frozen puff pastry, hiding in the bottom of the freezer. The pastry was rapidly approaching its Best Before date. I don’t even remember why, when or even IF I bought it, but it wasn’t long for this world.  

In the fridge I had a pound of uncooked asparagus that had been forgotten two days earlier when we made a salmon dinner. Asparagus is not a forgiving vegetable and something needed to be done ASAP. 

Luckily, some detecting turned up a recipe for Asparagus Tart with Puff Pastry from a Foodland Ontario's website.  Of course, it’s not asparagus season in Ontario now (ahem), but we do have an excellent local supplier of mushrooms which is one of the reasons we always have them.  I had to improvise a bit on other ingredients because we didn’t have shallots (local or otherwise) which the recipe called for.  I used a small onion, caramelized it, and upped the garlic.   

We didn’t have Ontario Havarti either, although I love Havarti and I will try this the next time.  I fiddled a bit with the cooking times and added a bit of extra oil and butter.  Not only did we have a storm but in the storm immediately preceding it, our basement flooded. The emergency clean-up crew was there as I was preparing that. They were worried about the drive home!

By the way, you could reduce the amount of oil or butter if you want because the pastry is quite rich. You could probably use a bit of stock to pre-cook the veggies.  Go ahead and use a salt substitute too.

was glad to discover the Foodland Ontario site, because it does have great recipes for the kind of fresh ingredients we can easily find in the province, as long as we can get out the door. They also have a great recipe calendar. 

Asparagus Tart with Puff Pastry, Cheese and Mushrooms



  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 ½ cups sliced brown mushrooms
  • 1 lb sliced asparagus, snapped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 sheet (225 g) butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/4 cup (250 mL) shredded cheese.  We used Black Diamond medium cheddar.
  • seven or eight chopped chives


In large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for about twenty minutes over low heat. 

Add additional tablespoon of oil and mushrooms; cook for 5 minutes. 

Add asparagus and garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Season. 

Unroll puff pastry and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

Brush Dijon over surface. 

Poke entire surface with fork. Arrange asparagus over pastry and top with mushroom mixture, leaving 1/2-inch border.

 Sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Bake in 400°F oven 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Let stand on sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes before cutting to serve.

The results:  The surprised husband (who doesn’t care for pizza and up until this point had been saying “So is this some kind of pizza?” changed his tune to: “Wow, this is really delicious!” 

We loved it and will make it again.  It will serve four as a light lunch with a salad or maybe six as an appetiser.  We may try it for brunch too.  You could easily pre-cook the veggies and just add in time for baking.  

You probably know that we Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini are actually VICTORIA ABBOTT, author of The BOOK COLLECTOR MYSTERIES, But in case you don't, we thought it worth mentioning again.   

So thanks to this fun theme week and some rotten weather, Victoria Abbott has new favorite lunch.  We also have a new favorite cover:  The Hammett Hex has now been revealed. 
TA DAH!  Just click this link because it's NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER