Saturday, May 12, 2012
Sheer Elegance in a Crust
Anyone who has seen Chef Ramsey on "Hell’s Kitchen" spear apart a Beef Wellington and angrily throw it “in the trash,” plate and all, knows that temperature is key in this dish. Chef Ryan is thankfully much calmer than Gordon Ramsey. The beef fillet, he tells me, must always be served slightly pink in the center. Thus constant use of a meat thermometer. And the pastry, well, who doesn't find pastry tough? The dough is sheerer than tissue paper, and he lays it out as if it will shatter. Using a pastry brush, he delicately sweeps an egg/butter wash over the dough, folds, seals with a bit of very cold water, and repeats. I blink, and he has the Wellingtons all bundled and lined up like little soldiers, ready to march into the oven and get toasty. I realize at this point, there is no way I will be whipping this up at home.
Don't think you can whip this up at home either? Luckily, cute Chef Ryan offers fabulous cooking classes during which he will teach you all the ins, outs and crusts of Beef Wellington. Classes are each Monday at 2 p.m. and, judging from the amount of giggling coming from the kitchen, they are a fun time.
After much prodding, I get Sir Chef to give me an "easy" make-at-home recipe for the Impressive All Extravagant Beef Wellington. Have at it. The scariest part is the puff pastry. Chef Cute assures me it's a snap.
Easy Beef Wellington NOT ala Goldmoor
• 2 filets mignon, 1-inch thick
• 2 sheets puff pastry
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 egg
1. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.
2. Filets are often irregular in shape, if yours are use a piece of kitchen twine to tie them into a round.
3. Season filets generously with salt and pepper.
4. Pre-heat a medium (10-inch) non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl in pan to melt.
5. Cook filets on both sides for about 3 minutes until well-browned, then brown the edges. Note: Regularly check the internal temperature of the filets, they should not be cooked past 120F at the center. Allow filets to cool, then wrap in plastic and chill for at least a couple of hours.
6. Heat oven to 400F. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)