I was browsing in the freezer section at Fivimart the other day, looking for Wonton wrappers (no luck) when I found this multi-purpose dough.
I love that it's "Mediteurasian Style"! The back of the package indicates its many uses.
Now, as a cook/baker/enthusiastic eater, I am quite aware that the pastry used in a chocolate eclair is very different from the pastry in baklava, which is very different from roti, which is very different from pajeon, which is very different from churros, which is very different from steak & guinness pie...and I could go on. One pastry cannot possibly work for so many things, can it?
I had to find out just what this stuff is. It only cost 48,000 dong (around $2.50) so I bought it out of sheer curiosity. The 5 pieces inside are round, with a diameter of 17cm, and have a piece of plastic on either side of each one so at least they aren't all stuck together.
My first idea was to make an apple strudel, because I had an apple sitting around and I've been craving apple pie lately. I took one piece of the pastry out and let it thaw while I cut up the apple because I clearly needed it to be pliable. However, there's a reason it says "DO NOT THAW" on the package, and that's because when it's thawed, it sticks to the plastic.
Take 2. I put the thawed one back in the freezer and took out a new one. I took the plastic off it immediately, and placed it on my oven tray, with the apples in the middle. I like apples and I used a lot, so when the dough was soft enough to bend, I discovered that I couldn't cover all my apples. I took some apples out, but still couldn't make the dough stick together. I tried holding it together with toothpicks, which sort of worked, but when the dough is soft enough to bend, it also is too soft to hold a toothpick without just tearing.
So when I finally baked my apple strudel it looked like this:
Definitely not the prettiest apple strudel ever.
The dough cooked quicker than the apples did, so by the time it looked like this, the apples were still kind of crunchy. I don't think a regular pie pastry would cook quite so quickly, thus giving the apples time to cook too. Or maybe I just need to cook it a lower temperature for longer. (I think I baked it at around 180C or 350F) Also, the dough got crunchy on the outside and kind of flaky as you'd want from a pie pastry, but the bottom of this remained kind of chewy and not terribly nice. I guess it'd do in a pinch if you needed something for dessert and didn't have time/were unable to make your own pie crust, but I wouldn't especially recommend it.
The next time I tried it I decided to do just what the instructions say on the package. They say to put the frozen dough in a hot, dry frying pan, grill it for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown, then "clap dough with hands from the edge to make it fluffy". I don't really know how one would clap the dough from the edge, so I skipped that step.
The dough did puff up quite nicely in the pan, and there must be a lot of butter in it because the way it looked when it cooked, it seemed like I'd put oil in the pan, but I hadn't.
I ate this plain, and it was actually pretty good. It has a distinct buttery taste, with a crispy, flaky outside, and a slightly chewy inside, although there wasn't actually that much inside. I guess I'd compare it mostly to an Indian roti, and it would work pretty well to soak up your curry!
I have three more pieces of all-purpose frozen dough left. What do you think I should do with them? I'm not too keen on its prospects for Steak & Guinness pie, or churros, or most of the things the package says it can be used for. Any ideas?