Clifton Puffs

Clifton is a part of Bristol, lying mostly above the Avon Gorge. Many fine merchants’ houses were built there in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A Clifton baker invented these puffs, which were always triangular in shape and always eaten hot. They were sold from his shop but were sometimes also taken in baskets and offered for sale to coach passengers bound to or from Cheltenham. The puffs are very good served with whipped or clotted cream for the sweet course at dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (½ kg) puff pastry made with 3 tablespoons (30 g) ground rice and ¾ cup (90 g) ground almonds added to the flour
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • cup (120 g) currants
  • cup (120 g) seedless raisins
  • ¾ cup (120 g) candied peel or sultanas
  • 2 cups (120 g) almonds, blanched and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons brandy or sweet sherry
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 egg white
  • cup (90 g) plus 2 teaspoons castor sugar

Method

If frozen puff pastry is used, mix the ground rice and almonds and sprinkle evenly over a pastry board. Roll the pastry over the mixture, fold it and roll once more, so that the rice and almonds are incorporated. They give the pastry a crisp consistency and an almond flavour.

Make the filling by mixing all the remaining ingredients except for the egg white and 2 teaspoons of the sugar and stir well together. If possible, allow the mixture to stand for an hour or so, as this softens the fruit and improves the flavour.

Roll out the pastry very thin and cut into 4 inch (10 cm) squares. Put a spoonful of filling on each square, brush the edges with egg white and fold over to form a triangle, pressing the edges well down. Brush each puff with the remaining egg white, sprinkle with the sugar and place on a greased baking tin. Bake at 450°F (230°C, Gas Mark 8) for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

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