July 29, 2010

Holiday Inn a la Debi

We just had a very hectic and fun weekend hosting guests. My uncle and his colleague came from Taiwan on a business trip and stayed over this past weekend. I didn't want to disappoint them with my culinary skills, so I started practicing making puff pastry doughs days before they arrived. I was surprised at how simple it is to make pastry dough at home! Best of all, you can cut them the amount of butter that goes into the dough, and still have the end result tasting the same. I made a total of three batches with decreasing amount of butter in each batch. In the last batch, I used slightly over 1/2 of the butter called for in the recipe, and it was still great.

For Saturday night, I made Orzo salad, and brocoli souffles. My aunt also came over with Ruthie and brought over meat and stole my thunder! Just kidding. I think they are more accustomed to eating Oriental food, so my Orzo salad wasn't as well received. However, my souffle, the reason I have been practicing making puff pastry, was fantastic. I modeled it after Panera Bread's Spinach Artichoke souffle and even went to Sur La Table to buy the paper molds( yikes 50 cent each! but it makes me happy) to make them look authentic. My parents thought they tasted better than the Panera ones, but parents always lie... who knows! 

For the souffle, I made my own puff pastry using a croissant recipe found here.

Puff Pastry / Croissant 
(Recipe from LJ_gunsforchildren)

2 c all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
12 tablespoons of butter, cut into thin slices (Optional- 6 tablespoons)

Optional egg & honey glaze-
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. honey

  1. Add the flour, yeast, and sugar and whisk together, then add salt (the author of the book stresses that salt can kill yeast) and combine.
  2. Add the milk and mix with dough hook and knead on medium setting for 4 minutes (or until dough is smooth but still clings to the fingers)
  3. Place in an oiled bowl and allow to rise for 30 minutes
  4. Place in the fridge to chill (for about 30 minutes to an hour)
  5. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle and place the thinly cut butter on one end of the dough, then fold the dough to cover it.
  6. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle again, and this time, fold it like a business letter, in thirds, and place in the fridge to chill for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Repeat the rolling and folding every 15-30 minutes at least two more times, making sure the fold is on the left side and vertical when rolling.
  8. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours (I left it overnight) 
At this point the puff pastry dough is done, and you store it in the freezer for later use.

Turning the dough into croissants:
  1. Remove the dough and allow it to warm slightly. Roll it out into approx. 14x24 inches, and fold in half lengthwise and use a pizza/ pastry cutter to make triangles in the dough by cutting it diagonally (like this: VVVVVV). 
  2. Form the croissants by rolling from the base to the tip of the triangle, inserting any scraps at the base of the triangle before rolling.
  3. Place on a baking pan and allow to rise for up to two hours.
  4. GENTLY brush on your choice of glaze.
  5. Bake at 400F for 15-25 minutes, or until golden browned (the time will vary by how big your croissants end up being- mine were on the small side. You might want to cover them with foil after 10 minutes or so to keep them from getting too browned)
  6. When they're done cooking, place on a cooling rack to cool, and if wanted, drizzle with honey.
** This video is very helpful. 

For the Souffle, I used the following recipe.

*note the puff pastry used in the above picture was using 6 tablespoons of butter, so if you use the full amount of the butter, it will turn out more flaky.

Egg Souffle
(Recipe from Here) **with modificatino

1 cup of chopped broccoli
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
Four 5'' by 5'' puff pastry dough
melted butter
¼ cup shredded Asiago cheese (I used Gouda)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Beat 4 eggs. Mix in milk, cream, cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, Parmesan, and salt. Stir in broccoli.
  3. Steam egg mixture for 7 minutes, and then stir it.This process will tighten up the eggs enough so that the dough won't sink into the eggs when it's folded over.
  4. Roll out the doughs into 5'' by 5'' pieces with about 1/4 '' thickness..
  5. Brush melted butter inside four 4-inch baking dishes or ramekins. Line each ramekin with the dough, then spoon equal amounts of egg mixture into each ramekin. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of asiago cheese on top of the egg mixture in each ramekin, and then gently fold the dough over the mixture.
  6. Beat the last egg in a small bowl, then brush beaten egg over the top of the dough in each ramekin.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until dough is brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the soufflés from each ramekin and serve hot.

The next morning I woke up early to prepare for breakfast. My mom thought the guests might not be accustomed to western style of breakfast so she went out to get some Vietnamese sandwiches... deliciousness! But I went ahead with half of my plan and made Swedish pancakes (my original plan was to make Banana walnut pancake and Swedish pancakes)

The Swedish pancakes turned out very well, and I was able to improvise the fillings to resemble the ones I love so much at IHOP.

Swedish Pancakes
(Pancake recipe from My Own Sweet Thyme, and filling recipe is from my head)

3 eggs
1-1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of whipped cream cheese mix with 2 tablespoons of jam (any flavor)

1. Beat the eggs and the sugar until thick and creamed.
2. Lightly mix the flours and salt into the egg mixture.
3. Slowly pour the milk into the mixture and gently mix in.
4. Preheat a griddle and put some butter over it.
5. Pour a thin layer of batter on the pan and spread it out.
6. Flip the pancake over to cook the other side when it is slightly brown in spots.
7. Put the fillings on part of the pancake and fold it over.
8. Remove to a plate and sprinkle some powdered sugar over it and garnish with some fruits. 

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