Yes, You Can Make Puff Pastry
Pssst. . . you want to make puff pastry? Who me? You want ME to make puff pastry? Yes, YOU. It’s not complicated. Way easier than you think. It’s just a folding and rolling process that’s repeated several times.
The tradition is to roll out the dough then wrap it around a hunk of cold butter and refrigerate. Then you repeatedly roll and fold the dough to evenly distribute the butter in sheets throughout the dough. (It’s the butter that makes the dough separate into puffy layers.) How? When baked, the butter gives off steam that’s trapped between the layers of dough. You see where this is going? The steam rises, separates the dough layers and it’s puff city. Simple!
But when you start, if the fridge is too cold, the butter gets too hard. Then when you begin the rolling process there are issues distributing the butter into the dough and you’ve got a frustrating mess on your hands. Oli to the rescue! Simply by mixing the butter with some flour there’s no frustration, no mess and the result is a delicate, buttery, crisp and flaky pastry. What happens is that the flour makes the butter become more workable as it doesn’t chill to the max.
Puff pastry is often called the “thousand-leaf dough”. It’s not thousands of layers but close. Well, to be exact you repeatedly fold the dough in thirds (see photo) and roll it out. Soooo, 3x3x3x3x3x3 = 729 layers of butter and dough.
What to do with this decadent, buttery, flaky creation? Really? You didn’t have to ask. Fill it, roll it, wrap something in it. . . free style it. Just have fun.
Make a pot pie.
Make our Party Pizzas.
Use your own puff pastry to top off bowls of our Fish Soup To Die For.
Make some puff pastry cups to fill. . . Got Nutella?
Fill some cups with some of that salmon you smoked and top with crème fraîche and a dill sprig. ‘Tis the season you know!
Make cheese straws.
Use it as a crust for tarts. Fill it with something sweet – or savory. . . berries, cheese.
How about baking a brie wrapped in puff pastry? Top the brie with chutney, preserves and some nuts. Wrap and bake.
OK, one more thought . . . go here and make Palmeries.
OMG I’m hungry. . .
Merry, Merry! We hope you enjoy the Holidays.
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Puff Pastry Pâte Feuilletée
You need a bit of patience and time when making puff pastry. Start with the butter mixture, then make the dough. They both need to be refrigerated for a few hours before you start the roll and fold process, and again between the rolls and folds as well.
1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
- Cut butter into ½-inch cubes and place in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat paddle. Add flour and mix on slow speed. You can increase the speed as the butter warms up a bit. Mix until you have a creamy consistency.
- Place butter on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into an 6-inch by 6-inch square, wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
1 pound all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 ¼ cups cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ounces melted butter (not hot, but still liquid)
- Dump flour onto a clean surface and sprinkle with salt.
- Make a well in the center, pour in water, lemon juice and melted butter.
- Use your hands to work flour into liquid mixture, always keeping the liquid in the center of the well.
- Knead the resulting dough until it is smooth and firm. If the dough sticks to your work surface, knead in a little more flour.
- Cut a deep cross (+) into the dough. Kneading the dough made it elastic. Cutting the cross into the dough breaks that elasticity.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
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Ok, now the fun begins. A few things to remember. . .
It is best to work this dough on a cold, marble surface. If you don’t have a marble top, just run some ice cube trays over the surface a few time to keep it cool. If you find that the butter is softening as you work with it, the kitchen might be too warm. Just refrigerate the dough between each folding instead of after each two.
Remember to dust off all of the flour before folding. Take your time and don’t roll too hard.
Rolling the dough
- Sprinkle cold work surface and dough with flour. Roll dough from the middle outward to form a 13-inch by 13-inch square and dust off flour from top of dough.
2. Place butter block in the middle of dough. Fold dough corners to center to encase butter.
3. Roll this package into a 16-inch by 8-inch rectangle and dust off all of the flour.
4. Fold one end of the dough to the middle then the other end over it. Dust off all of the flour.
5. Once again, roll it out to a 16-inch by 8-inch rectangle, brush off the flour and bring the ends to the center.
6. Brush off all of the flour and make 2 finger prints in the dough. The finger prints will help you keep track of the rolls and folds.
7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8. Repeat the roll, fold, roll fold but mark with 4 fingerprints this time. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
9. And finally, 2 more rolls, folds, mark with 6 fingerprints and refrigerate for an hour.
So, this really is a roll and fold process. Nothing to it. Just keep track because it’s always six. Never more. Never less. It pays off in airy, heavenly, buttery layers of delectable pastry.
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