Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Cottage Cheese Pufflets
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces (about ¾ cup) cottage cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
About ¼ cup thick preserves, marmalade or jam (your choice)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Put the butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times, for 2 minutes, or until the butter is completely creamy. Add the cottage cheese and vanilla and process for another 2 minutes again scraping the bowl once or twice. The mixture will be velvety, more like whipped cream cheese than cottage cheese. Add the flour, pulsing only until it is thoroughly blended into the dough.
Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a rectangle or square, pat it down, cover it completely and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.)
Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
To roll out the dough, you can work either between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface.
Cut the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough to a thickness of a scant 1/8 inch. Because you are going to be cutting the dough into squares, it’s best to roll it into a rectangular or square shape. If at any time the dough seems too soft to roll, pop it into the refrigerator for a quick chill.
Using a cookie cutter, a paring knife or a pastry wheel, cut the dough into 2- to 3-inch squares. (I use a 2 ¼ inch square cookie cutter.) Put a dab of jam on one square of dough, just off center, and, with a wet finger, moisten the edges of the dough. Fold the dough over to enclose the jam and form a triangle, pressing lightly to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining squares and line the pufflets up on the baking sheets, spacing them about ½ inch apart. Poke a minute steam hole in the center of each. (You can roll, fill and shape the pufflets, freeze them on a tray, then, when they are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container. The pufflets can be baked straight from the freezer – no need to defrost – just add another 2 minutes or so to the baking time.)
Bake the pastries one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, or until puffed, firm and beautifully golden. Transfer the pufflets to a rack, dust with confectioner’s sugar and cool to warm or room temperature before serving.
Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.