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  • Writer's pictureCampbell Whitman

Italian Puff Pastry Butterflies

Having a drink with almost anyone is seen as a joyous event! For example, a drink with friends after work, with your neighbor before you both pop into your perspective kitchens to serve your families dinner or a nightcap before a nightcap. They're all splendid, I say while devilishly rolling my hands on top of each other with friskiness.

In Europe there is a word for having a snack and a drink with family, friends or colleagues after work, but not an entire meal together. In Dutch it's called a borrel, in Spanish it's called an aperitivo and in French it's called an aperitif or apéro for short. It's quite an essential part of European life. Culturally, Europeans "booze" in a different way than the Americans do. It's more like one of the fibers of life that is woven into our daily rituals with somewhat more acceptance and dare I say less "drunkenness". It's just a quick, enjoy-the-moment-before-dinner-time and then off to the house or wherever you go for dinner.

To say that we are big fans, is beyond an understatement! It's a beginning to the end of your daily routine, which for us is the calm right before the storm of a meal with kids, followed by the cleanup and the ever-infuriating bedtime routine that all parents LOVE! But you cannot just booze and keep your wits about you while dealing with those pesky, little troublemakers. You need a snack with it or you won't make it standing upright to the dinner table.

The snack can of course be anything you choose such as, peanuts, chips, crackers or cheese & charcuterie. But these little crackers are great addition because they look fancy and time consuming, but it's a façade. You can start making them and skip to eating one in 20 minutes. And who knows, maybe trying it the European way will change your woven fabric for the better.

Italian Puff Pastry Butterflies

1 puff pastry sheet 270 g (24x 40 cm when unrolled) Really, any sheet size will do, depending on country of origin. You just may need a little more or a little less of the filling ingredients if the size differs.

30 g grated mozzarella

15-20 g grated parmesan

2-3 T fresh chopped basil


2T olive oil

* after making these I thought how yummy it would be to replace the oil with a red pesto and call them "Caprese Butterflies". Just some food for thought...

Turn the oven on to 200 degrees C (390) Remove your dough from the fridge. Then prep all of your other ingredients. Puff pastry is full of butter, so it can tend to break as you unroll it, if you do so straight after removing it from the fridge. You can always fix any cracks by pushing it back together with your finger. I tend to let my dough sit outside of the fridge for about 5-10 minutes before handling. If the dough comes out of the freezer, obviously defrost it first. You want a dough that is cold but not too cold when unrolling.

Once unrolled, with a pastry brush, brush the oil on the inside of the dough. It will help the cheese stick to it when you roll it up. Sprinkle all of the ingredients over the dough evenly. Then carefully and as tightly as possible, roll the dough up on one side to the middle lengthwise. Repeat with the other side until the two rolls meet each other in the middle. If your dough is really soft and warm, you can roll it back up in the paper it was originally rolled up in. Then set it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. It helps to have the roll not too warm when you cut into and place it on the sheet pan. SO I try to work fast!

I asked Koosje to cut them all about 1 cm thick, which is about a half of an inch. You can cut them thicker like, it will only add to their cooking time. Ours were done at the 12 minute mark. And I did move the trays around for even browning.

Once they cool they are ready for any glass of wine or in the colder weather dip them in a soup!


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