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Brunch pastries can take a lot of forms. Laborious, yeasted, multi-layered affairs like danishes and croissants are classic pastry basket staples. But what if you've got a pastry chef who loathes excessively early mornings and doesn't appreciate being bossed around by tiny little microbes who eat sugar and belch carbon dioxide?
Well, then you better hope your pastry chef is a master of freezer-stocking. Luckily, not only can I make treats that freeze well both raw and baked, I'm a preserve addict. Left alone with enough fruit for any length of time, I'll inevitably turn it into jam. So when I decided to let the line cooks at my last restaurant do the baking for brunch service, I left them with tubs upon tubs of Jammy Tarts in every flavor imaginable.
What's a Jammy Tart? Well, it contains a generous amount of handmade preserves. I tried a lot of flavors, from classic blueberry and raspberry to exotic papaya-cream cheese and decadent peanut butter-banana—but spicy pineapple was the first and the most delicious. Sandwich that between two rectangles of buttery crust and you have the ultimate simple breakfast or brunch pastry with no kneading or rising involved.
About that crust. You'll find the mixing method to be similar to that of most standard flaky pie crusts (pâte brisée in technical terms), but with an extra step. It results in that classic clash of both flaky and tender. It actually happened completely by accident the first time I made it—I incorrectly converted the recipe I was using and and added twice as much butter as I meant to, only realizing what I did as I saw the flour disappear into a disproportionately large amount of butter. But I decided to forge ahead and add an equal amount of flour and see what happened.
What happened was I got a result so unbelievably flaky that people asked me if I'd used puff pastry. If it can impress professional cooks, imagine how cool you'll look serving these to friends and family.
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About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna and see her adventures in creativity on her website, VerySmallAnna.
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