Here’s a problem. Not a catastrophic one for my pastéis de Belém, but a disappointing one. The classic method for shaping pastéis de Belém involves rolling your puff pastry dough into a tube like this:
You then cut the tube into segments, stand the segments up in the form and — sticking a moistened finger into the middle of the tube — gradually pull the pastry outward until it lines the mold. A neat little technique save for one thing: the gluten in the flour in Portugal (and on the Continent generally) is plastic. Ours is elastic, which means whenever you apply pressure to it, it wants to spring back (think pizza dough when you roll it). Here’s what happened despite repeated attempts to flatten the pastry against the sides of the muffin mold:
Looks like I’m throwing a pot…and a bad one. The stuff simply won’t lay down against the sides of the mold. Now, store bought puff pastry tends to be less elastic than the homemade kind, so there might not be the same issue with Pepperidge Farm. However there’ll be a big sacrifice in taste and texture. So me, I’ll just roll my pastry out thin, cut it into rounds and lay it in. The “grain” of the crust won’t be quite the same, but it’ll be for all intents and purposes identical to the classic method.
On a side note I’ll say that this is a troubling development, since I had high hopes for another project that’s based on this technique. Back to the drawing board!