Monday, November 12, 2012

Cherry-Filled Pastry Pillows


Wow, check this out.  Two blog posts in ONE weekend! I took a break from my classes to cook and bake my heart out.  Actually, I also was practicing taking photographs too.  Right now in my photography class we're working on taking pictures of products.  I think the next few classes we will focus on food.  I'm kind of gearing myself up for that.

Anyways on to baking; I found this recipe at the check out lane where all the impulse items are located.  I briefly glanced at the chocolate candy and other sweets but my attention was immediately drawn to the magazine rack.  I love browsing through food magazines.  And yes, I have even been known to pick up a National Enquirer on occasion but invariably, the beautiful food covers catch my eye.  As I flipped through the magazine (can't remember the title), I saw the recipe for these beautiful fruit filled pastries and had to try it.  It only called for a few ingredients so it was love at first sight.  I looked it up on the internet and found this one from Better Homes and Garden.

Recipe from Better Homes and Garden Magazine 2009:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened and cut up
1 can cherry pie filling (you can also use 1/4 cup raspberry, apricot, peach, or strawberry preserves)
1/4 cup Almond paste (I didn't use this and they came out fine)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water
Coarse sugar or pearl sugar (I sprinkled regular sugar over the pastries)

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; set aside.  In a medium bowl beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined.  Add flour mixture.  As cream cheese and butter mixture gets combined with the flour you'll find it is going to be pretty unruly.  The dough kept creeping up and I had to keep pushing it down.  When completely mixed, divide dough in half.  Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 2 inch squares.  I used a square cookie cutter and it worked like a charm.  The recipe says to put the squares onto ungreased cookie sheets but I put mine on parchment paper and then onto the cookie sheets.  I'm not a big fan of scrubbing pots and pans after I've baked and have found that parchment paper works wonders when it comes to shortening the cleanup time.

Since I used cherry filling, I put 3 cherries & some filling on each square.  The recipe says to put a scant 1/4 tsp of preserves onto each square AND 1/4 tsp of almond paste.  I suppose I could have done that too but I'm a rebel in the kitchen.  I'm just so wild. lol (and a complete dork).  Maybe that's why my pastry puffs came out so messy? Eh, who cares? They still look good right?

In a small bowl beat together egg and water.  Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Top each with a second dough square. Using a fork, gently press edges to seal.  Brush tops of pillows with egg mixture.  Sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.  I highly recommend baking them until they are golden brown.  If you do that they'll hold their shape better and not shrink and get wrinkly.

Transfer to wire racks to cool.  If you follow the directions exactly how the magazine says you should, you'll end up with about 52 cookies.  I ended up with about 24 because I made them a little larger.

To store: Layer pillows between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator.

The pastry puffs tasted really good but I think the next time I make them I'm going to use an icing to top them instead of sugar.  Since the dough has no sugar in it and I just think that icing would be a nice complement to pastries.  If you want to try my suggestion, here is a recipe for pop tart icing.  Let me know how it goes!




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