So yesterday I put up a selection of easy, low-risk breads. Today I’ll do the same for pastry. For pure simplicity, the first place I’m going to go is to the camping pastry section, because there’s some pretty high payoff there for an extremely low investment. For being made of store-bought dough, the campfire cannoli are shockingly good. And while strawberry shortcake is mentioned in the campfire post at the bottom, I want to call attention to it here because, while this may be the winter of our discontent, we’re also coming up on strawberry season. Note that you can make a strawberry shortcake out of any cake that’s on-hand. While real Southern biscuits are preferred, sponge cake or pound cake work well too (particularly homemade).
What else? If you don’t mind frying, beignets are some of the easiest pastries on the site. The recipe can also be halved if you like. Speaking of frying, fritters are another great, simple comfort food option (you can make them with sourdough starter as well!). And while we’re on the subject of fruit, what with everyone hoarding canned and frozen food, there’s a lot of produce around. So grab a couple cups of spring berries and make a buckle. Or grab a lot more if they’re on sale and make a cobbler.
In the mood for cake? Though it’s a touch involved, yellow cake layers, if you have the ingredients, are amazingly versatile. I myself like just a plain slice as a late night desert, maybe dusted with a little powdered sugar if there’s some around. This banana upside-down cake is a Pastry family staple. And while there are some techniques involved, it’s not a difficult thing to make.
And at the risk of ranging too far from my theme of simplicity, if you’re home, have some butter and yeast, and want to really dip your toe into the pastry-making waters, consider some brioche dough. No other single component opens up more pastry-making doors than this fluffy enriched bread. Great on its own, it’s the basis for everything from rum babas to savarin cakes to bee sting cake to tarte Tropézienne. And did I mention lost toast?