The Great British Bake Off is well underway and I’m loving every episode. The lovely Erik said to me that he wished I would make some Viennoiserie. (He’s so in-the-know with the complicate terminology). Viennoiserie are baked goods made from a yeast-leavened dough in a manner similar to bread, or from puff pastry, but with added ingredients giving them a richer, sweeter character, approaching that of pastry. The dough is often laminated. It was the laminations that Erik mentioned he was interested in.
For biscuit week on the Bake Off the technical challenge was Arlettes. These are very thin, very very laminated pastry swirls flavoured with cinnamon. These are quite time consuming to make, not too difficult – but there is a bit of messing about. Most of the time you are waiting for the dough to cool. On the Bake Off the contestants would be putting the dough in the freezer to chill, but I’m not sure I’d be able to deliver them in two and a half hours!
This recipe is courtesy of Paul Hollywood via The BBC website. I hope he would like mine, if I say so myself they are delicious! Even so I would not like to be under the Hollywood laser gaze!
To make the Arlette recipe you will need
- 60g Strong White Bread Flour
- 60g Plain White Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 40g Melted Butter
Put both the strong and plain flour into a bowl – it is important that you use both types of flour. Plain flour has less gluten, the addition of the strong flour will make the dough more elastic, do not be tempted to use just strong flour as this will give a more bready texture to the finished Arlettes.
On a lightly floured surface kneed the dough for about 5 min until smooth.
Pat the dough into a thin square shape, wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for 25 mins or the freezer for an hour.
- 125g Unsalted Butter Room Temperature
- 25g Strong White Bread Flour
- 25g Plain White Flour
For the butter mixture put the two types of flour and the soft butter into a mixer (I use a hand held for this) and mix until combined – we are not wanting to incorporate air so no need to whisk for a long time.
Put a piece of cling film onto your worktop. Top Tip: if you wipe the worktop over with a damp cloth (just water no cleaning materials – it’s food after all) then your first piece of cling film will hold in place. Pile the butter mix on top and sandwich with another piece of cling film and pat out into an oblong shape. This needs to be the same width as the dough block but twice the length – I have included both blocks in the picture so you can see their relative sizes.
Put the butter layer into the fridge to chill for about half an hour; the pastry should also be left in the fridge.
Take both packs out of the fridge, peel the top layer off the butter, unwrap the dough block and place it in the centre of the butter. Then pick up the cling film under the butter and pull it up and over the dough, first from one side and then the other.
Gently pat everything together until the dough block is fully encased with butter.
Now we are going to roll the block out and make a book turn; don’t panic, it’s not that complicated.
Roll the butter encased block out into a rectangle. You need to try to get the edges as squared off as possible – I didn’t quite make it oblong, try to be better them me, it makes the laminations better.
I have marked with a knife where you need to make the first two folds – you should not cut your dough, fold it. Fold the left quarter over to the middle, then the right to join in the middle. Then fold these two section down the centre – with the flaps turned inwards. Book fold done!
Put into the fridge for another half an hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and make another book turn, then back into the fridge for another half an hour. It is very important that you let the dough chill properly otherwise the butter and dough get combined into a gelatinous mess rather than layer upon layer of butter and dough.
For the filling
- 50g Granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Icing Sugar for dusting
Roll out your chilled block ready for another book turn, then sprinkle over the granulated sugar mixed with the ground cinnamon. Please do use granulated sugar as caster is so fine that it will fall out as you roll it later. Press the sugar mixture into the surface of your dough. Then proceed with the final book turn.
Roll out the pastry until 1cm thick, into a long narrow rectangle. Starting at the narrow end – roll the pastry up to make a fat and wide Swiss-roll (not a long thin one – that would be using the long edge). Re-wrap the pastry and back into the fridge for another half an hour.
Put the oven on to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Next dust the slices with icing sugar to help stop them sticking. Between two pieces of parchment roll the individual slices out until 12 to 15cm wide.
Put 4 on each of your trays and bake for 6 mins (my oven took longer than Paul’s recommendation – keep an eye on them). Very gently turn them over – take care they are fragile and bake for another 4 mins.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool and do your best to resist them – they are delicious at this stage, but upon cooling they firm up and go crispy and are even better.
Make a nice pot of coffee and enjoy. This does take a long time to make, but as you can see most of the time you are waiting for the dough to cool, as long as you have another chore or some good radio in the background you fill the waiting time easily.
Was it worth the time? Hell yes!