Today is all about puff pastry again! These Puff Pastry Twists with parmesan, rosemary, and sea salt make great pub style finger food served with an easy IPA Cheese Beer Dip.
I’m also expanding a little on my previous Puff Pastry Tutorial – How to Make Puff Pastry From Scratch. Here I’ll outline the various problems, causes, and solutions when baking with puff pastry.
Subscribers will also be able to download my new Puff Pastry Tutorial Baking Guide and the previous tutorial’s checklist and worksheet.
Puff Pastry Twists
My family has been hanging out at Heretic Brewing Company in Fairfield a lot lately. They have good beer, allow dogs, and you can bring in your own food. My sister and her boyfriend just got a puppy that needs constant attention so when the weekend comes it’s nice to have a place to go.
And I love bringing my food experiments to save myself from eating too much. I brought fudgy beer brownies one time (they will be on the blog at some point) but this time I wanted something salty, fresh, and light.
Because I was working on my Puff Pastry Tutorial I decided to go with Puff Pastry Twists. Rosemary adds a fresh taste, Parmesan is a light and salty cheese, and coarse sea salt made sure I got some bites with tasty salt crystals.
Whether you use homemade puff pastry or store-bought, these Puff Pastry Twists are easy and simple to make.
Rather than rolling out the puff pastry onto a floured surface, you roll it on top of a mix of grated Parmesan cheese and diced fresh rosemary. This keeps the dough from sticking to the counter but also embeds the flavor into the dough.
IPA Beer Cheese Dip
Paired with an IPA Beer Cheese Dip, the Puff Pastry Twists were perfect pub food.
I wanted a cheese dip that could travel easily and be used hot, warm, at room temperature, and cold because during spring I’m always thinking of picnics and eating outdoors. As long as you have a container that doesn’t leak, this cheese dip is perfect at all temps.
I used a habanero IPA with cheddar and pepper jack cheese. The pepper jack emphasized the habanero flavor of the beer and the IPA gave the dip that familiar IPA hoppy kick.
Puff Pastry Tutorial – Baking Guide
Some of you may never have any trouble when baking with puff pastry. But if you have had some problems in the past, read on. This is a follow-up post to my Puff Pastry Tutorial – How to Make Puff Pastry From Scratch. Don’t worry though, the tips in this tutorial apply to ALL puff pastry, homemade or store bought.
Working, Cutting, and Shaping Puff Pastry Dough
If using frozen puff pastry, make sure it is fully thawed before using. Put the puff pastry in the fridge overnight or unthaw it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Unfold store bought puff pastry and roll out homemade puff pastry.
For homemade puff pastry:
- Rotate the dough so it looks like a book about to be opened (seam is on the left, the “page” or dough edge is on the right).
- Roll out into the desired size.
Be careful not to press too hard when rolling out the ends and edges of the puff pastry. This will press the layers together and prevent rise.
Flour your work surface and rolling pin to avoid the puff pastry from sticking to the surface. This will lead you to over handle the puff pastry, which makes it tough. You can also use cheese or sugar in place of flour.
While you are working with your puff pastry, keep an eye on the temperature of your dough. If it starts to get sticky and hard to handle, then the butter is starting to soften and melt. Work fast and in small batches, or occasionally pop your dough back in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
Cut puff pastry dough with a very sharp and thin knife or pastry wheel. A dull knife will compress and seal the layers and your puff pastry won’t get as much rise. If you are cutting out shapes, don’t twist the cutters because this will distort the layers.
Guiding the Rise
Depending on what you are making, you might want to maximize or minimize rise.
Stuffed Pocket Style Pastries (empanadas, turnovers, etc.):
For empanadas, turnovers, or other stuffed pastries, use an egg wash and crimp the edges to seal everything together preventing leaks and helping the pastry hold its shape.
An egg wash can be used on everything to give it that golden color but if you want a lot of rise, be careful that you only brush the surface. If egg wash runs down the cut side of the puff pastry, it will seal the edges and stop the pastry from rising.
Pie Crusts and Tarts
Prick the pastry all over with a fork to prevent it from rising. This will make the pastry extremely thin and crisp.
If you want a tart with a puffy crust, score the edge of the boarder between the surface of the pan and the pan’s walls with a knife and prick everything on the inside. This will cause the middle to stay down and the edges to puff up.
Flat Pastries (Napoleon)
If you want a flat extremely crisp pastry, prick it all over with a fork, cover it with parchment paper, and bake it with another baking sheet placed on top of it.
After cutting and shaping your dough, let it rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before baking. Or you can freeze the dough briefly. Making sure the puff pastry is cold when it goes into the oven will ensure the butter melts more slowly, helping the puff pastry hold it’s shape better.
Baking Temperatures and Times
The initial baking temperatures need to be high. Steam is the primary competent of a puff pastry’s rise and temperatures over 400 degrees Fahrenheit will produce a better rise.
That being said, a lot of puff pastry cuts are delicate and can’t cook at that temperature for the whole bake. Lowering the oven’s temperature after the first 10 minutes makes sure the puff pastry doesn’t cook too fast and burn.
A soggy bottom is when the base of a pastry fails to cook and is saturated with liquid or raw.
It happens when the fat melts before the gluten network has formed or when there is excess moisture in the pastry dough or filling.
Resting the pastry in the refrigerator or freezer before putting it in the oven helps prevent soggy bottoms as does putting a filling in when it’s cold.
For liquid fillings or for ones that release juices as they cook, blind baking the pastry crust will help prevent a soggy bottom. Blind baking sets the pastry by cooking it at a high temperature first before the filling is added.
Brushing or lining the pastry base with egg white, jam, chocolate, oats, nut butters, or anything else that will help soak up the liquids to create a barrier also prevents a soggy bottom.
For double crust pies and potpies, cut vents into the dough. Otherwise, the steam won’t be able to escape causing you to have a soggy interior.
When blind bakes aren’t possible, placing the pastry on a preheated baking sheet or pizza stone will help the bottoms crisp up fast.
Go for thick and heavy because these absorb more heat and get hotter. Black tins also absorb more heat. Glass and ceramic retain heat the best but glass will heat up faster and you can look at the bottom to see how the pastry base looks.
Puff pastry is best kept at room temperature and uncovered. After a couple of hours, it will loose its crispiness and will get soggy.
Download Your Puff Pastry Tutorial Baking Guide
To help keep track of the possible problems, causes, and solutions to baking with puff pastry, make sure you download my Puff Pastry Tutorial Baking Guide by subscribing! You’ll also get the first guide along with it!
Puff Pastry Twists with IPA Beer Cheese Dip
Puff Pastry Twists with parmesan, rosemary, and sea salt make great pub style finger food served with an easy IPA Cheese Beer Dip.
Puff Pastry Twists
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosmary diced
- 1 teaspoon course sea salt
- 1 sheet puff pastry
IPA Beer Cheese Dip
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 2 cups pepper jack cheese grated
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 12 ounces IPA beer
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
Puff Pastry Twists
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the grated cheese and fresh rosemary.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese and herb mixture onto the countertop in a rough 5 by 9-inch rectangle.
Roll out the puff pastry sheet onto the cheese and herb mixture until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick. If you are using frozen puff pastry, wait until it is thawed, unfold it and roll it a little to press the cheese into the dough.
Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of the cheese and herb mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet. Roll out until it is 1/8 of an inch thick.
Sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt.
Fold the puff pastry sheet in half, turn the dough so that the seem is on your left, and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of the cheese and herb mixture.
Roll out the puff pastry sheet until it is 1/8 of an inch thick and 10 inches long.
Sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt.
Cut the puff pastry sheet into 1 inch thick strips of dough.
Transfer the strips to the lined baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Twist the ends in opposite directions to give the dough a spiral. Press the ends into the parchment paper if they begin to untwist.
Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15 minutes, until the straws are a deep golden color, puffed and crispy, and feel dry to the touch.
Let the straws cool briefly on the baking sheet until they are firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack. Store uncovered at room temperature.
IPA Beer Cheese Sauce
Toss the grated cheese with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
Heat the beer and milk on medium heat. Once it’s hot, stir in the cheese until completely melted. Add more cornstarch until the desired consistency is reached. This cheese sauce is supposed to be pourable at room temperature, making it ideal for taking on picnics.