Puff loaf is a very traditional Danish delight, about which I didn’t know until King Arthur came with Almond Puff Loaf. Almond extract with flaked almond is used customarily but who am I to follow rules right? I am a total fiend when it comes to coarse black pepper. If I could I will add it to everything which in this case is totally absurd but trust me it works beautifully.
This loaf is small potatoes and delivers a stunning pastry with all the important components, crispy biscuit like base, airy puff in middle and delicate rose flavored icing. Pastry unlike cakes needs that textural contrast to elevate all the flavors and components, think about tart with soggy bottom; oops a total no no. The base is laden with coarse black pepper which gives that spicy contrast to the sweet, floral notes of rose jam and rose-water in the icing. Describing this pastry makes me think of wine which has a complex flavor profile not everyone appreciates and sometimes it is best to leave it to experts. But I couldn’t resist giving it a try as the flavors were literally dancing on my palate.
From what I read about this pastry it is family favorite in Danish household but I am sure one bite and it will be in your house too. You can use any jelly/ jam/ preserve/ compote of your choice but I wanted rose to shine through and through. Rose petals jam/ gulkand is readily available in Indian grocery store and also in whole foods and on amazon too. If you do have rose petals jam on hand give these coconut ladoo, a quintessential Indian dessert a try. A raspberry seedless jam can be used too. Something exciting happened over the weekend, two of my recipes were featured on Huffpost. Check them out here; Saffron Mango Macarons and Mango Tart.
Adapted from King Arthur
Makes: 2 loaves
Black Pepper Base
- 120 grams/ 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 113 grams/ 1/2 cup/ 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- 2 tablespoon cold water
Middle Choux Pastry Layer
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 113 grams/ 1/2 cup/ 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 120 grams/ 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup rose petals jam/ preserve
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3 teaspoons rose-water
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachio
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, salt and black pepper. Rub butter in the mix, until it resembles a coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoon cold water and form a dough. DO NOT KNEAD.
- In a sheet pan pat the dough mix into 2; 12 * 3 inch rectangle about 4 inches apart. The dough will be sticky so use a plastic wrap. Refrigerate the whole pan till you make the second middle layer.
Make Choux Pastry
- Combine water, salt and butter and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and mix flour using a rubber spatula. Return to low heat and cook until mixture forms a ball and pulls from side of the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the mix to a bowl and mix with spatula for a minute. Add an egg at a time and mix well. Mixture will be creamy and smooth. Mix in the extract.
- Spread half of this mix evenly on top of each base layer. Bake for an hour. If after 45 minutes you feel the top is getting too dark just place an aluminum foil.
- Remove and place the baking pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Gently transfer the pastry to cooling rack. Cool for an hour.
- Meanwhile make icing by combining confectioner’s sugar and rose-water. It will be thick. Transfer icing to a ziplock bag. Spread the rose preserve and apply icing on top. Enjoy within few hours for best taste.
Note: Make this ahead and freeze it (10 days maximum) before putting preserve and icing. On the day you want to serve, preheat oven to 400°F and bake for 5 to 10 minutes.