Saturday, January 31, 2009

Creating the Impossible

In one of my culinary 'text books', is a recipe for a starter or buffet dish that looks remarkably like a cream slice, but is a savoury version using cream and curd cheese. Many of you I know make your own curd and even cream cheeses from yogurt, so you may wish to have a go at making this. More colour could be added to the filling by folding in very finely diced bell (or even hot) peppers.
Spicy Cheese Slices:
1 x 370g pack puff pastry
1 egg yolk
1 tsblsp salt (pref sea or rock salt)
8 oz (225g) full fat cream cheese (Philly type)
8 oz (225g) curd cheese
1 dessp brandy
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tblsp warm water
quarter ounce (7g) gelatine
5 fl oz (150ml) double cream
Using a floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12" x 20" (30 x 50cm) rectangle. Leave to stand for 15 minutes, then sprinkle a baking tray with cold water. Beat the egg yolk and brush this over the pastry, then prick the pastry all over with a fork, and sprinkle one half with the salt.
Place the pastry onto the wetted baking sheet and bake at 220C, 425F, gas 7 for 12 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to get cold on the tray, then cut into half across the width.
Slice the salted half into five 2" x 4" (5 x 10cm) strips. Place the remaining half on a double sheet of foil 2" (5cm) larger than the pastry, and fold up the surplus foil all round to make a 2" (5cm) rim.
Beat together the cream cheese, curd cheese, brandy, parsley and seasoning to taste. When smooth, set aside while pouring the warm water into a bowl standing in a pan of hot water. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water in the small bowl and leave to stand for a few minutes to soften, stir until dissolved then stir it into the cheese mixture.
Beat the double cream until stiff and also fold into the cheese/gelatine mix, then spread this over the pastry base, sitting in its little tin, and top with remaining strips of pastry, salted side uppermost. Chill until the filling is firm, then when ready to serve, slice through the strips down through filling and the pastry underneath.

The more we can make ourselves, and the more self-sufficient we can become, the cheaper a dish will be to make, and what might have been thought of as impossible to serve, due to the cost, can with a little creativity and very soon become quite affordable. Even in this day and age. We never know what we can do until we try.

Looking forward to being back with you again tomorrow. Just realised it is Saturday and not a mardy in sight. Spring must be in the air.