I just can’t bear to throw out leftover pastry scraps. As a child, when my mother made pie, she salvaged every shred of dough and produced a treat I found more tantalizing than the star dessert itself — the Rolly-Polly.
She gathered the leftover dough, rolled it into a long strip, slathered butter down the middle, sprinkling it with cinnamon, brown sugar and — if we were very lucky — chopped walnuts. She then rolled the pastry strip into a log, bent it into a circle and pinched the ends together, forming an uneven, edible wreath. Inevitably, the over-handled dough cracked, but while it baked, the buttery brown sugar oozed out and caramelized into crunchy burnt nirvana. As soon as it was cool enough to handle, she cut the Rolly-Polly into bite-sized portions, which we gobbled boldly in the face of our fast approaching dinner.
Last week, with fresh apples from the market watching my every move, I forewent the Rolly-Polly. But I didn’t waste the scrippets of pate sucree cut from the rim of my Pear, Chocolate & Frangipane Pie. I gently patted the dough into a large ramekin. In went half an apple, chopped and tossed in cinnamon and brown sugar. I folded the edges over the top, which didn’t quite meet, and baked it along with the pie. Voila! Apple Something. Served with a drizzle of creme fraiche, it was a lovely, unpretentious treat I ate as I cleaned the kitchen. A reward for all my hard work.
What do you do with those unruly bits of leftover pastry? Do you just toss them into the garbage? Or do you have some delicious rescue missions you wish to share?