I always have puff pastry in the freezer during the summer – I have no fear of pastry, as you know – but when you don’t feel like making it, or are in a hurry to make something to go somewhere, it’s great to have frozen assets. See what I did there? Blueberries also freeze well – when BC blueberries come into season in July and August, I stock up – love those big, plump highbush blueberries BC is known for – and freeze them to keep us going through the winter. It’s easy to do – just dump them in freezer bags and toss them in the freezer. That’s it. The berries stay separate, so you can just pour them into your muffins, pies, pancakes and other baked goods – use them frozen, don’t thaw them.
Puff is also satisfying in its forgiveness – you can be as rough and rustic as you like, and your pastries will come out of the oven looking divine – the more rough around the edges the better, in fact. You can stuff squares of pastry with just about anything – I went for blueberries and rhubarb, simmered with sugar – seal it up with beaten egg and the tines of a fork, and there you have pies that can be packed or picnicked or just eaten out of hand, leaning against the counter. (Or cold, with coffee, for breakfast. Or as a vehicle for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.)
Blueberries and rhubarb are pals. They complement each other – the berries mild-mannered, the stalks tart and astringent. All they need is to be simmered with sugar and a bit of cornstarch (to keep things from running away) – holding a few fresh blueberries back to stir at the end will ensure there are some plump, juicy ones in your pies. If you’re not a rhubarb fan, double the berries, or add strawberries or raspberries – it all gets packaged up in its puff pastry envelope, so there’s no relying on a precise ratio of juicy fruit to starch to keep things sliceable.
An egg wash will make them glossy, and feels good to do. Doesn’t painting pastry make you feel like a baker?
And if you have a crowd to feed, this is an easy sort of recipe to multiply without worrying about the science of things. In fact, you could assemble and freeze them, then bake from frozen as you need them – even a turnover or two in the toaster oven to get your pie fix.
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen
1 cup chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 pkg. puff pastry dough, thawed
flour, for rolling
Preheat the oven to 400F.
To make the filling, bring half the blueberries and the rhubarb to a simmer in a medium saucepan along with the sugar and cornstarch. Cook until the fruit breaks down and the berries burst, and the sauce bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining blueberries.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of the thawed puff pastry into a 10-inch square, and cut each into 4 squares. Beat the egg lightly with a fork, and brush two edges of each square with it. Put a large spoonful of filling in the middle and fold over to enclose it, sealing with the tines of a fork, and using the egg wash as glue.
Place all the triangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or two, if you need to), and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.
Makes 8 turnovers.