Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Paprika Baked Tofu In Quick Puff Paste With Vegetables

The recipe for the quick puff paste, and the sauce come from the February 1973 issue of Gourmet. They both worked perfectly. I improvised the filling from what I had in the fridge and the garden. I'm still sort of amazed it worked.

Although the puff paste is "quick", it still takes a couple hours-and the rest of the recipe is time consuming as well. The tofu and vegetable filling can be made ahead of course, and it is best to let them chill a bit before filling the pastry anyway. The boys both agreed that it was better than the frozen puff pastry sheets, though honestly, I always thought the Pepperidge Farms ones were pretty decent. They are however, terribly expensive. I haven't tried making a batch of this and freezing it-that's something worth trying. Do let me know if you give it a try, I'm curious to hear how it goes for others.

For The Pastry:

2 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter-cold
1/2 cup ice water (you won't need it all)

Sift together the salt and flour in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until you have fine crumbs. If you have warm hands, consider using a pastry cutter or food processor for the task. I have poor circulation, and I make awesome pastry ;)

Add the ice water slowly until dough comes together. Round up into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly in cling film and chill at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle about 12x6. If you have a non-stick mat, or a plastic cutting board, use it. If not, flour your surface as lightly as possible and proceed.

Fold the top third over the centre and the bottom third over the top making a rectangle that is 4x6 inches. Use your rolling pin to press down on the dough. Turn it so that an open side faces you and roll again to a 12x6 rectangle. Fold in thirds as before. This completes two turns. Make two more turns, ending with a 4x6 rectangle. Wrap the dough and chill it for at least 30 minutes before using.

For the Tofu:

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed dry of water and sliced in 4 slabs
4 tablespoons Dijon style mustard
5 tablespoons paprika (sweet)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried, minced garlic granules

Mix well and pour some in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the tofu on top and pour the rest over. Cover, and keep in fridge 2 hours, turning once after an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake tofu, uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn slices over, and bake another 30 minutes. You want most of the moisture to cook out. This may take up to an additional 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Cool, then chill before using. It will keep 2 days, tightly wrapped.

For the potatoes:

2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into paper-thin rounds

Poach the potatoes in salted water until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool before using.

For the vegetables:

6 small carrots, peeled and shredded
4 stalks celery, finely diced
12 scallions, chopped
1 cup baby rocket/arugula
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon preserved lemon peel, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Fresh sage if you have it-to taste
Olive oil

Heat the olive oil (about 3 tablespoons, but you may prefer more or less) in a heavy pan and add the carrots. Cook until softened over medium heat for a few minutes. Add everything else and cook slowly over very low heat until it is very soft. Keep stirring and eventually mashing with a wooden spoon. When it collapses into something nearly a mush, remove it from the heat and cool before using.

For the sauce:

1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup vermouth
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons AP flour
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Make a roux with the butter and flour. remove from heat and whisk in the mustard. Slowly add the wine, then the stock, whisking constantly. Return to heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, and cook until it thickens. If you will be keeping it hot for a period of time, pour a thin layer of cream on top


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a large baking sheet.

Cut puff paste into 4 pieces. Use one at a time, keeping others chilled until needed. Roll out puff paste to 1/8th inch thickness and about 7 inches square. Place a layer of potatoes in the centre leaving a generous edge around all sides. Take each quarter of tofu and slice it into thin slabs-about 4 slices to each piece. Lay a few slices over the potatoes. Top with the vegetable mush, and another layer of potatoes. Bring together the sides and pinch closed well. Place seam side down on the pan. I pierced each with a very tiny slit on the side, but I didn't really need to do this. Do as you see fit.

Once you've made all 4, beat a whole egg with a tablespoon of cold water and brush it generously on the pastries. Bake 25-35 (or 40) minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.

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