We don’t celebrate Valentines Day in our house. That isn’t because our immaculate love transcends Hallmark Holidays or because we reek of pretentiousness and manage to romance each other every day so we don’t need a special day that tells us to do it. If I’m being honest, it’s because we don’t really care. Because at the end of each day we dig deep to find the last tiny shards of physical affection that remain from a day of being tugged, climbed, screamed at, hugged, kissed, poked and touched over and over again (which can be difficult enough for those of us who need to have our physical space). We try to unravel the tangled thoughts in our heads to form a few sentences in order to share our days with each other as concisely as possible. After dinner is done and Ruthie is in bed we often sit, legs sprawled and heads hung to one side, weighted by the day, our fingers feeling around for the others’ until they meet and fasten together, unable to speak but confident in our love despite how spent we are. Those fingers bound together is just enough some days to know you’re seen, cherished and supported. That is our love. And it doesn’t need a special day because chances are good we would forget to celebrate anyways.
On the days I find it hard to connect through physical touch, I often bake knowing that’s almost as good as a hug. My husband has the sweet tooth in our family, my daughter and I tending toward the savory. But my one sweet indulgence, the one I can’t walk past at the bakery and that sustained me through my pregnancy, is anything made with puff pastry or croissant dough. Those laminated layers of butter-crisped dough stuffed with any number of oozy or sugary or creamy fillings is the stuff of my dreams. If anyone is worthy of homemade pastries, it’s my dear sweet husband.
When I toyed with making my own at home, I felt a bit daunted. There’s a lot of information out there and while the process and ingredient list is minimal, I felt that maybe I was missing something. There must be more to it. Some sort of magic that happens in those simple folds that I must be neglecting to read about. Nope! It really was so easy. I decided on a rough puff pastry which is a short cut version that takes about 45-50 minutes to put together. Using goat butter can be a tiny bit more difficult as it has a lower melting point thus requires a few pops into the freezer during the process to ensure everything stays cold. Cold = flaky. My hands run hot so I definitely needed to chill throughout the process. But maybe you’re one of those really cold people who have hands like tiny icicles. I wish I were. My pastry skills would be on point. I digress. Goat butter gives this pastry a mild grassy, sweet farmy taste. If you like goat cheese, goat milk etc then you’ll appreciate the unique flavour. If you do not like goat dairy, what’s the matter with you!?! I kid. Give this a try just the same, the flavour is much milder than you’d expect and if you’re not looking for it you may not even notice a difference from your cow butter pastry.
This is simple pastry made with love for my man. I may not be able to lift my head more than an inch in the evenings, but I can direct you to the pan of sweet, flaky, warmly spiced morning buns and utter a quiet “I loveeeeee you” knowing you’ll get the real message, which is how terribly, painfully much I love you even if in this moment in our lives, we can’t always fully convey that message as clearly as we’d like. Now eat your love buns and leave me in peace!
Goat Butter Rough Puff Pastry + Ginger-Cardamom Morning Buns
makes 1 dozen buns
I made this pastry the day before I planned to make the buns as I wanted the pastry to be nice and chilled in it’s final state before mucking about with it. If you don’t like ginger or cardamom, which will give these buns a warmth that cinnamon alone won’t, you may omit and add an extra 1/2tsp of cinnamon.
1/4 cup unsalted Hewitt Dairy Goat Butter, grated and frozen
8-10 tbsp ice water
1 recipe Goat Butter Rough Puff, above
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
mixing with a wooden spoon, to bring it all together. Knead for a few minutes so it comes together into a firm dough, and let rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Roll dough out into a long rectangle. Place half the grated butter over 2/3 of the dough. Fold the 3rd of dough without any butter over the middle section, and the other end on top of that, like folding a business letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll that piece out into another rectangle. You’ve just completed one “fold”.
Place the rest of the grated butter over 2/3 of the dough. Fold the 3rd of dough without any butter over the middle section, and the other end on top of that. You’ve now laminated the butter in 2 folds. Turn 90 degrees and roll out again. Repeat until you’ve made 5-6 folds. If you find the butter is getting too soft, freeze for 10 minutes after you complete a turn. Chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge. Will keep in the fridge for 1 month or freeze for up to 6 months.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, zest and spices until combined. Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside (this will be to sprinkle over the baked buns). Mix the butter into the remaining mixture.
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll your pastry into a 16×20″ rectangle. Gently spread the butter and spice mixture over the dough. Starting at the longest end, roll the dough into a long tube. Slice tube into 1″ pieces and place in a butter or oiled 12-muffin tin. If the dough is too soft to slice, freeze for 10 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven, loosen from the pan and spoon remaining sugar & spice mixture over the warm buns.