[Sca-cooks] Leaf pastry devloped into puff pastry

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Fri Nov 21 10:22:06 PST 2008

Terry Decker wrote:
> The earliest source I have seen referenced for "puff" pastry is a charter by
> the Bishop of Amiens in 1311 which mentions puff pastry cakes.  Since I
> haven't seen the text, I can't be certain of the reference.
> There is an English reference from the Liber Albus (1419), "Panis levis qui 
> dicitur 'pouf '."  This "puff" is probably an enriched, light bread rather 
> than modern puff pastry.  I think, but am not certain, that this is the same 
> or a similar reference to the "puff" mentioned in one of the versions of the 
> Assize of Bread and Beer.
    I question references to France. Like the Islams they stole the best 
from other countries and perfected cooking but were not the originators. 
I, therefore, question 'puff' pastry in Amiens in 1311. As far as the 
White Book is concerned, London was in contact with Amiens from 1295 at 
least on for importing woad so yes, the English logically could have 
picked up recipes from Amiens but  I prefer "Joe Pastry's" explanation:
"Disregarding the French for a moment (and who doesn't love to do that 
every so often?), what do Spain, Florence, Venice and Turkey all have in 
common? Answer: they all had extensive contact with Middle Eastern 
peoples well before the rest of Europe. Spain was occupied by the Moors 
from about 700 A.D. to roughly 1500 A.D., during which time it was known 
by its Arabic name, /Al-Andalus/. Florence and Venice were of course 
powerful seafaring city-states that traded almost continuously with Arab 
peoples even when those, whaddyacallem, /crusades/ were goin on. And 
Turkey, well, it was part of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, which 
bordered the Islamic Caliphate until Constantinople fell to the Ottomans 
in 1453 (at which point it became the defacto capital of the entire 
Middle East).
"So...plenty of opportunity here for the peoples of southern Europe to 
learn the pastry-making arts from the Arabs --- which they then adapted 
to their local fats (all of them --- especially the Turks --- were 
butter-eaters to one extent or another). And thank goodness they did, 
since butter does a far better job of pushing up layers than oil does. 
Yet it's the Arabs who ultimately get the medal for pioneering the 
technology that led to modern pastry."
The full text can be found at: http://www.joepastry.com/index.php?s=venice
    Now I have a question for you. Am I translating 'hojaldre' correctly 
as being leaf pastry or could it be flaky or rough puff pastries, French 

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