Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
Asking why I wanted to make Anchovy Puffs is a little like pondering why Jennifer Westfeldt had the hots for Adam Scott in Friends with Kids.
Sometimes attraction cannot be explained by obvious physical factors nor supposition. It is there, it feels good, you want. Plus I love me some anchovies any time I can get them. I love pastry dough fashioned from cream cheese, too. I am always on the lookout for a snack to serve up when guests show up, and this seemed like a great place to start.
This is a very quick and fun little nibble, and here are some tips to make it more so:
1. Very important: YOU MUST USE GOOD ANCHOVIES. Don’t talk to me about cans, don’t get on your high horse about bottom feeding. Just get the best you can find. Whole Foods sells the nice ones in a flat plastic container near the expensive yogurt.
2. Use what you need to make this into a fine paste. I used my Vitamix, which worked okay-ish, save the part where I decided to wash it after by putting soapy water in and running it on high, which resulted in anchovy scented bubbles over half my kitchen counter. I said “Oh dear” at very high volumes and no one came to the rescue, which I guess had to do with the fact the family was watching The Ten Commandments and they were at that part where Moses was gets all badass with his staff. Still. Made note to self to pick up a mortar and pestle along with 12 inch cast iron pan and a martini shaker.
3. Roll your dough 1/8 of an inch as instructed. Too thick and your puffs will look more like Pop Tarts than puffs. Also seal them properly; I did not use my fork aggressively enough and the paste came out a bit while cooking. I resealed.
4. The author deanna1001 wants you to fridge your dough (yes correct) and also to put your fishy paste in a bag in the fridge and then pipe them into your rolled out dough. I see no need for that second step. Make the paste, take a knife and spread a bit on each full moon before folding them into half moons.
5. Watch them for over cooking. (You knew that.)
6. Eat them warm. They are an exciting bit of surprise, as your guests bite into the dough, expecting a bit of cheese, and get a mouth full of briny, salty goodness instead. Hurrah! Pour a cocktail. Sit outside. Have another bite. Curse the dog for eating the marker sticks in your potted herbs, leaving you sadly ignorant of what is growing. Think of summer.
Makes 4-5 dozen
3 ounces cream cheese (1 small package) softened
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
1 cup flour (all purpose)
Photo by James Ransom