By Kirsty Smith
There is nothing quite like a freshly-baked pastry of a morning and these beauties are even better as they are infused and glazed with wonderful Arthur Dove Tea Co tea flavours. As with all pastries of this nature, the process can be a bit on the long side, but you can prep most of the dough one evening (and get on with other things while they prove) and then have the immense satisfaction of baking your own raisin and almond swirls for breakfast. A winner every time, you'll feel like the bee's knees and the caterpillar's boots all at once, and you can douse them in whatever blend of tea happens to be your favourite. Taking the time to create the laminations - layers of butter and pastry - in the dough is what keeps the pastries light and fluffy and delicious and there really is nothing like the scent of homemade pastries filling the kitchen of a morning. So dig in and enjoy!
7g dried yeast
250g Strong white bread flour
110ml warm water
30g Caster sugar
30g butter (room temperature)
125g butter (chilled)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1 mug boiling water
2 tsp tea
40g butter (room temperature)
40g icing sugar
40g ground almonds
3 drops vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
Put the yeast in a mixing bowl and then cover with the bread flour and salt. Add the 30g butter and caster sugar into a separate jug with the warm water to melt and dissolve them, and then add the milk. Once everything in the jug is combined, pour the liquid over the flour, and start to mix. This can be done by hand, gradually working the ingredients together until the dough has absorbed all the flour and the sides of the mixing bowl are clean (add a tiny drop more milk if it's too dry). This should take 5-10 minutes and the dough will be smooth and stretchy.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and continue to knead until it is smooth and non-sticky, kneading for another 5-10 minutes. When it's ready, grease the sides of a large bowl with butter, pop the dough in the bottom and cover it. Leave the bowl in a warm place to prove until it has doubled in size; this may take up to two hours depending on how warm the room is.
While the dough is rising, take the chilled piece butter out of the fridge, and put it in the centre of a sheet of greaseproof paper. Cover it with another sheet of greaseproof and then bash the butter with a rolling pin to start flattening it. As it starts to flatten, it will warm up slightly and become easier to shape; roll out the butter to a thickness of about 1/2 cm so that it measures roughly 18cm x 12cm. Leave it between the greaseproof paper at all times, and when it's rolled out, return the butter to the fridge to firm up again.
When the dough has risen and doubled inside, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Take the butter out of the fridge, peel off the top layer of greaseproof and set to one side. Returning to the dough, using a rolling pin to roll the dough into a square measuring about 22cm on each side. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper, lay the dough on top and pop it into the freezer for 5 minutes. The yeast in the dough makes it warm but by chilling it briefly, we can cool it down so it won't melt the butter.
After 5 minutes, the dough should be slightly chilled and the butter should still be firm but not brittle. Take the dough out of the freezer and lay the piece of butter in the centre of the square of dough. Bring the top edge of dough down and the bottom piece of dough up so that they meet in the centre, completely covering the butter. Pinch the edges all around so that no butter is visible - if there are gaps, the butter will squeeze out and you'll lose the lovely pastry layers and the dough will get sticky.
Roll out the butter-filled dough to a long rectangle measuring around 40cm in length. The next step is to perform what's known as a single turn: With the short side of the dough towards you, take the top third of the dough and fold it down over the middle third, and then take the bottom third and fold it up over to cover the first third. Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the sides are now the top and the bottom. There are loads of videos on Youtube if you want a bit more guidance about folding the dough to create the pastry laminations.
Using a rolling pin, carefully flatten this piece of dough to a thickness of 2cm.
At this stage, I found my dough getting a bit warm which made the butter too soft (it was a warm day!). If you find this happening at any point, put your dough back on its tray and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool down again. You can put the dough in and out of the fridge as often as you like and it won't affect it!
The next turn is called a book turn or double turn. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle again - about 40cm long. Then take each end of the long rectangle and fold it into the middle, so that the short edges meet. Finally, fold the whole lot together, as though you were closing a book. Turn the dough 90 degrees again and flatten with the rolling pin to a thickness of 2cm. You can give it another stint in the fridge if needed!
Repeat the book turn once more, turning the dough 90 degrees and then flatten the dough to 2cm. This folding, turning and rolling is what creates the beautiful lamination which makes the pastry soft and flakey and buttery.
At this stage the dough needs to rest for at least an hour, but I recommend wrapping it up in greaseproof and leaving it in the fridge overnight. That way, you can bake delicious pastries in the morning! The last thing that needs to be done at this stage is to soak the raisins for the filling.
Add 2 tsp of your favourite Arthur Dove Tea Co tea to a mug of boiling water and brew for 8-10 minutes. This is more tea than for a usual cup to drink, and a much longer steeping time, but we want to get a good strong flavour. Strain the tea out of the water and add the raisins into the mug of brewed tea. They need to sit and soak for at least an hour, but can easily sit overnight; they will get plump and juicy and absorb the flavours of the tea. I tried this with the French Toast tea which has a lovely sweet and smoky flavour, and I also loved Yule Log as the raisins really took on the flavours of the raspberries.
The next morning, or whenever you're ready to make the pastries, begin to prepare the fillings. Beat the egg yolk together with 1 tsp of water to make an egg wash. Combine 2 tsp of egg wash with the soft butter, icing sugar, ground almonds and vanilla extract and mix together to make a thick paste.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface until you have a large rectangle sized around 45cm x 20cm. Use a knife to neaten the edges and have the long side towards you. Spread the almond paste over the rolled out pastry, leaving a 1cm gap at the top and bottom. Drain the raisins from the tea, keeping 30ml of the liquid, and scatter them over the paste. Starting with the bottom, carefully roll up the dough into a sausage, a bit like a swiss roll; try and get a good, tight roll if you can as the dough will try to expand. With the join underneath, slice the sausage into 18 slices. Lay the slices flat onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper leaving plenty of space between them (they will expand and need room to grow!). Cover them with a tea towel and leave them to prove for an hour. Meanwhile, mix the 30ml of leftover tea with the 50g of caster sugar to make a tasty tea glaze. Set this aside.
When you are ready to bake the pastries, preheat the oven to 200 degrees c (190 for a fan oven). Uncover the pastries and brush them with the rest of the egg wash. Pop them into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until they develop a rich golden brown colour and your kitchen smells fabulous. Take a moment to feel smug. When they come out of the oven, the pastries can cool on their trays. After they've cooled for about 5 minutes, brush over the tea glaze for the finishing touch.
Take 5 minutes at this point to brew yourself a lovely pot of tea - you can decide if you want your brew to match your pastries or pour a cup of something different. Then dive into your pastries while still fresh and warm. Ideally in bed.
If you have any leftover pastries, once they've fully cooled they will freeze really easily. Then when you fancy a pastry, leave them out to defrost and pop them in the oven on a low temperature - around 160 degrees - for 5 minutes to re-infuse them with that warm, freshly baked feeling.
To hear more from Kirsty visit her Instagram @Journalofcuriousthings