Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Precious

If I haven’t been posting as often recently (my sincere apologies to the three of you reading), it’s because I’m over blogging. My new obsession: puff pastry. As I may have already mentioned, my pies are the stuff legends are made of, but I’m hardly one to rest on my laurels. Puff pastry is a challenge that I knew I would eventually face, and I have been gathering strength for that day. I knew not what form it would take – turnovers? danish? croissant? – but I knew that the task would require a quick wit, great patience, and 2 pounds of unsalted butter.

Last week, in a vision, I saw the One Ring: pigs in blankets. In the past I have relied upon cocktail weenies in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, but such parlor tricks are no longer adequate for the Queen Baker of Bed-Stuy. The blankets, they must be made from scratch! You cower in fear! You quake before the hundreds of delicate, buttery layers! Will you not take up your rolling pin and fight beside me?

The humid August air threatened to take from me all that I held most dear. My hands were swift, but could it contend with the moist air that threatened to descend upon the work surface. Again and again I cast the flour down, folding and rolling and folding again, until the stubborn pockets of butter blended seamlessly with the dough. The battle was over. My enemy retreated into the refrigerator to rest.

At daybreak my worst fears were realized: the dough was stiff. With my last ounces of strength I pounded it into submission until it lay before me in a docile sheet. As I cut it into strips and rolled the weenies, I knew that once I cast it into the fires of the oven the test would be complete. Only time would tell.

In tomorrow’s installment: will the weenies rise up in their blankets?