Melbourne is a city of brunchers. We love to breakfast and, on the whole, do so very well, but one thing I feel we're missing is an excellent savoury pastry. Muesli and eggs however you like them, no problem, but if you're not up for a big morning feast then, more often than not, you have to settle for something sweet.
Not that I'm really complaining, mind. A fresh-from-the-oven croissant is, after all, satisfyingly glorious. It's just that sometimes I really want something savoury that's simple, small and quick, and not vegemite on toast.
On a recent trip to London I had the pleasure of enjoying breakfast with the Little Bread Pedlar, makers of artisan croissants, breads and treats operating out of the Spa Terminus in Bermondsey. Among the many delicious goods consumed was their signature pastry, the Parma Rose. Comprising rich, buttery pastry rolled around slices of salty ham it's my ideal savoury breakfast treat, and since mimicry is often excused as a form of flattery I decided to give something similar a go.
While the LBP's pastry was made from croissant dough scraps I was keen to try Justin Gellatly's breakfast bun scroll recipe from his new book: Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding; and so whipped up a slightly modified dough before rolling it around some Lavoni prosciutto crudo in my homage to breakfast, LBP stylee.
Rich and fluffy they were certainly tasty, but I've still work to do if I want to get close to the magical Parma Rose. I pared back the butter, which was perhaps a mistake, but also feel the buttery bunness lends itself far better to oozing layers of caramelised cinnamon sugar than these fine strips of salty pork (a lighter, flakier dough may be the go after all). I am, however, being extremely particular, so I should stress that they're still pretty fabulous if you're thinking of giving them a go. Be they wrapped around bacon, laced with sugar, or left plain to be adorned with jam later, only good can come from the words, 'breakfast pastry'.
PARMA BREAKFAST PASTRIES (Adapted from Justin Gellatly's breakfast bun scrolls in Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding)
- 500 g bread flour
- 10 g sea salt
- 10 g fresh yeast
- 200 ml milk
- 150 ml water
- 165 g unsalted butter
- 120 g parma ham or prosciutto
- 1 egg plus a little milk, to glaze
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the milk, water and yeast then add to the flour and mix for a couple of minutes only. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and rest it in the refrigerator for two hours.
Bring the butter and dough to room temperature, then roll the dough into a rectangle 70- × 24-cm. Working from a short edge spread small knobs of butter evenly over two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the unbuttered third over the centre third, followed by the remaining buttered third, to create a parcel with the dough. This is your first single fold. Turn the dough so that the seam faces you, roll it out into a rectangle as above and perform another single fold. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for two hours to rest.
Remove the dough from the fridge and perform two more single folds, each time ensuring that the seam faces you before rolling into a 70- × 24-cm rectangle. Cover and return to the refrigerator for another two hours to rest.
Take the dough from the refrigerator and again roll into a rectangle, but this time perform a book fold by folding each short edge in so that they meet in the centre (it will look like an open book), and then one half over the other (it will now look like a closed book). Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to overnight.
When you're ready, cut the dough in half and roll each block into a 1-cm-thick rectangle approximately 20- × 30-cm wide. Lay slices of parma ham over the surface of the dough, leaving a strip along the long edge exposed. Roll up tightly lengthways and brush the exposed edge with egg wash to seal. Cut 3-cm-thick rolls and place cut-side-up into oiled cups of a 12-cup muffin tray (you'll need two trays). Cover loosely with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours until doubled in size.
Brush the tops with egg wash and bake the pastries at 180°C for around 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from trays and serve warm. These pastries are best the day they're made. Makes 20.