Baking Pastry Like My Momma

Yesterday I spent a lot of time baking up some of my favorite desserts and pastries that I want to share with my readers. Baking has always been one of my favorite things. I’m sorry I can’t share this family recipe, but I can share how I made this and hope that I can entice you to want to bake something. Maybe something your mother or grandmother taught you to make years ago that you forgot about. I wish we could bring back more of these “traditions” from long ago years.

Growing up I saw my Mom bake a pastry dessert many times that was given to her by my paternal grandmother who died before I was born. This pastry originated from Austria where my grandmother was born many years ago. Baking like this is becoming a thing of the past, but I hope to keep doing this for as long as my hands will work. This time treasured pastry brings back so many memories of my childhood. I will never give the actual recipe out, but will share the steps involved and how it comes about. There may be recipes out there similar in one way or another to this pastry, but my family will never be able to accuse me of passing this one down to anyone outside the family.

There is only two recipes that I make that contain yeast, one is a biscuit recipe and the other is this one. I have always used the packets of yeast, but my Mom has started using the yeast from a jar and measuring out the amount needed. To begin you pour the yeast in a big bowl to which you will add water to dissolve. The key to dissolving the yeast is to not have the water too hot or too cold, but lukewarm to the touch. I do all of my mixing by hand as I like to feel the mixture.

In a pot on the stove, I added my butter, milk and sugar and heat until butter melts. You don’t want it to boil as it will scald the yeast and it will not do what it is supposed to do. As I removed this mixture from the stove, I added my beaten eggs.

When my mixture on the stove is just about ready to remove, I add my lukewarm water to my yeast and dissolve.

Once my yeast was dissolved, I added my mixture from the stove. This is hot and some people might prefer to use a spoon, but I still mix this by hand with my dissolved yeast.

Once I mixed it a little, I then started adding sifted flour. I continue to add flour until the mixture can be poured out onto a floured surface. At which point I kneaded the dough several times before adding to a bowl to rise.

When I poured the dough onto the counter I kneaded it a few times and then placed back into my mixing bowl that I cleaned out and placed a small amount of oil in. This is to keep it from sticking to the bowl as it rises.

When I added the dough to the greased bowl, I spread it around to get grease all over the dough.

At this point, I covered the bowl and put in a corner out of any drafts and let rise to at least twice its size. This process took several hours so I spent that in-between time baking cookies. Recipes that I will actually share in later posts.

A pastry always has a filling and this one is no different. The filling is made using beaten eggs whites, sugar, cinnamon and pecans that have either been put through a meat grinder or purchased as pecan meal from your local store. I have done both. This time I bought the pecan meal from the store.

Below is the separated eggs. I will share in a later post what I done with all those egg yolks. There was no way I was going to throw away good food.

To make egg whites stiff like a meringue on a pie, you have to beat them for a long time. Once they are beat to the desired stiffness I added sugar, mixed a little longer and then added my pecan meal. I ended up having to split my batch up as I had so many egg whites they were spilling over the side of my mixing bowl. An easy remedy was to mix half and then the other half, pouring all the mixed egg whites into a bigger bowl before adding the pecan meal.

 

Once the dough had risen to the desired height I was looking for, I floured my counter so I could roll the dough out to complete the pastry I was making.

In order to better work with dough I poured it onto the floured surface and then cut it in half. I put one half back into the bowl, covered it back up and placed to the side.

Now it was time to roll it out. I have had my wooden rolling pin for a very long time. To me it is the better type to roll dough out with. There is no certain way to roll out the dough. I just roll until it gets to the thickness I think is good.

Once the dough was rolled out, I added my filling and sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on top of it. At this point, you can either cut into strips, roll them up and bake OR you can roll the entire thing up like a jelly roll and put in loaf pans to rise again before baking. If you bake in loaf pans, you can slice it like bread once its baked. The down side to doing it like this is you have to wait for it to rise again which takes longer. However, if you cut into strips and roll them you can bake them right away.

This is what they looked like rolled up before I baked them.

Fill up a cookie sheet and place in the oven.

Fresh from the oven!

Once they come out of the oven, I sprinkle confectioners sugar over them. I also stored these in the freezer at which point when they come out I will sprinkle additional confectioner sugar as it just makes them better.

The more filling you add the more moist the inside is. This is what one looks like cut in half. Look at all that gooiness.

I hope to pass this “tradition” on to my girls, but in order to do that they will have to start showing some initiative that they want to learn how to do this as it is not a quick dessert to make, but it is so worth all the effort it takes.

Biscuit Recipe

Back in the early 1990’s while attending college, my husband and I let this gentleman move in with us who was going through a tough time. He offered to cook some biscuits one night for dinner and at first, I was like thanks but no thanks I’ll cook. But he became insistent as it was his way of contributing something for letting him live there, so I finally give in and said, “ok, what do I have to lose?” To be honest, I really didn’t think he knew how to cook especially when it came to biscuit making. Well he made a fool out of me that day and proved me wrong. I told him if he kept cooking like that, I wasn’t ever letting him leave.  Those biscuits were to die for and because they were so good, I named the recipe after him when I published it in my cookbook many many years later, which is why the biscuits are called, JR’s Biscuits.  Wherever you are JR, I always remember the fun times my family shared with you and your wife every time I bake these up.

I will say this, if you don’t mix the yeast and water just right in the beginning you can forget it because they will not turn out right.  You cannot have the water too hot or too cold. It must be lukewarm. I always dissolve the yeast using my hands to mix it up as I add the water to it, then I proceed with the rest of the instructions.

Let me know how your version turns out. I would love to know if you get it right on the first shot.

JR's Bisquits

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bisquits

Ingredients

  • 5 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 pkgs yeast (or 4½ tsp)
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup shortening, butter flavored
  • cup sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Instructions

  • Mix yeast with lukewarm water. Let sit.
  • Mix dry ingredients.
  • Cut in shortening.
  • Add liquids, knead.
  • Put in greased bowl, cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • Roll out on floured board, cut into biscuits.
  • Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.

Notes

NOTE:  If you do not have buttermilk, you can substitute by adding 2 tsp lemon juice to 2 cups regular milk.