From Julie Van Rosendaal
This shortcut to real puff pastry has been around for a while – it’s as easy to mix together as a traditional pie crust, but a few extra folds give it delicate layers and lift. Baked squares of pastry topped with caramelized bananas and whipped cream make a delicious winter dessert.
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 c. ice water
3 T. butter
3 T. dark brown sugar
2 bananas, sliced
1 T. maple syrup
sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche, for serving
Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your hands, smearing each piece between your thumb and forefinger to make large flakes. You want to see bits of butter in the mixture.
Make a well in the middle and pour in most of the water; stir until the dough comes together, adding more water, if needed. Pat into a rough square or rectangle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap it and roll it out into about an 8 x 12-inch rectangle. Fold the top down toward the middle, then the bottom up over it, as if you were folding a letter. Give the dough a quarter turn (turn it to the left or right) and roll it out again to the same size, folding it the same way once more. Turn, roll and fold two or three more times, then wrap and chill for 30 minutes before using.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the rough puff to a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into six squares and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, brush the tops with some beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the butter and brown sugar until bubbling. Add the sliced bananas and maple syrup and stir until the bananas start to brown and soften, and the caramel is bubbly and smooth. Pour some caramelized banana over each square of puff pastry – or open it up and put the bananas inside – and top with whipped cream or crème fraîche.