The Real Struggle of Pastry-Making

My second attempt at this and it must go well. That is never the case with pastry making – your second, third and fourth attempts could be worse than your first and you’ll never know what went wrong.

You may have listened and watched all the tutorials, listed and purchased all the ingredients that goes with the recipe but boom – the results could be disastrous. Trying new meals could be an adventure but pastry-making could be a ride on a roller coaster. Brace yourself because anything can happen.

My second attempt at making puff-puff (a popular West African deep fried snack) and I felt I was properly armed this time. I called the commander-in-chief (my sister) who run me though the recipe again (for the purpose of revision). I made mental notes. I had no idea my brain was this sharp. I was able to memorise everything she told me without writing them down – flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, margarine, flavour, yeast and baking powder. Mix dry ingredients. Mix the liquid ones. Put dry and liquid ingredients together and ‘beat it’ to introduce some air. If it’s too thick, add a little water and make it sit for about an hour. Cover it!

Truly, after an hour, the dough or batter had raised. Oil in pan, I allowed it to heat before dropping the spongy dough into it. That thing turned brown by soaking almost half of my oil. They came out looking like some soggy compact disks. Not today, I said to myself. Probably I did not give it enough time to raise. I allowed the mixture to sit for an additional hour and poured the oil into another pan. It was probably the pan. It did not make the puff-puff round. I heated the oil again and started dipping the dough into the oil. The results was even worse than the first.

I turned off the fire and called the commander -in-chief (my sister) after I had sent her photos of the disaster I was making in the kitchen.

“Did you allow it to raise,” she asked.

“It’s been sitting in that kitchen for two hours now,” I said.

“Sieve more flour into the batter. You probably made it too watery,” she diagnosed.

That was how I added more flour and fried again and this time, they actually came out looking a little rounder. I am not a failure after all.

Not the perfect puff-puff but a good attempt (in my opinion)

It’s amazing how this snack is common in our markets but very difficult for me to figure out how it is made. This lock down period has shown me how challenging it is to make pastries/snacks. The least mistake you and you’ll be preparing an inedible nameless substance.

**16th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Document your experience trying something new or giving something up.**

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