Puff Pastry

There are many fabulous and easy to make desserts that are made with Puff Pastry. It can be picked up in the freezer section of your supermarket, but if you’re crazy like me and have a bit of time on your hands take a shot at making it from scratch! It is time-consuming and you need patience, but I’ve always found that on those days where a I have a lot of laundry and cleaning to do, it is the perfect way to take a break.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup of Cake Flour **If you can’t find Cake Flour: 1 Cup Cake Flour = 7/8 Cup of All-Purpose + 2 Tbs of Cornstarch**
  • 1 Tbs of Salt
  • 1 Tbs of Sugar
  • 1 Pound (4 Sticks) of Unsalted butter – Cold
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) of Unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tsp of White Wine Vinegar OR Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine 2 & 3/4 cups of all-purpose four with the cake flour, salt and sugar. Knead the 1 stick of butter that was cut into small pieces into the mixture as we did with the Chocolate Chip Shortbread and the crumb topping on the NY Crumb Cake.

Once the mixture has been kneaded  and you can see small, but visible “pearls” of butter, make  a well in the center and pour in 1 cup of cold water and the vinegar.

Gradually draw the flour mixture over the water, gathering and combining until the mixture comes together to form the dough. I found that the easiest way to do this is by folding the flour over the liquid. Using a rubber spatula, cut down the middle of the mixture, scoop from underneath, fold the flour on top of the liquid and repeat.

                                             

If the dough seems too dry, add 1 tbs of cold water at a time. Knead gently the dough into a ball in the bowl. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 40 minutes or up to 2 hours.

While the dough is chilling in the refrigerator, sprinkle 2 tbs of flour on a sheet of parchment paper and lay the remaining 4 sticks of cold butter on top, side by side. Sprinkle the top of the sticks of butter with another 2 tbs of flour and place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Pound the butter with a rolling-pin until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Don’t be shy, you’ll have to pound pretty hard in the beginning (my neighbors probably think I’m crazy!). Remove the top sheet of parchment paper, fold the butter in half, replace the flour and paper on top and pound the butter to 1/2 inch thick again. Repeat this process 2 or 3 times until the butter becomes pliable. Once the final pounding is complete, shape the butter into a 6-inch square, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 20-30 minutes.

Once the dough and butter are fully chilled, lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll out the dough to a 9-inch round and place the butter square in the center.

Using a pairing knife, lightly mark the dough to outline the butter square. Remove the butter and set aside. Starting from each side of the marked square, gently roll out the dough to form 4 flaps, each roughly 4-5 inches long. Do not touch the inner square, just roll out the flaps. Return the butter to the center of the dough and fold the flaps over the putter. Press the sides and corners with your hands to seal.

With a rolling-pin, gently pound the dough all over in regular intervals until it is about 1 inch think. This will soften the dough to make it easier to work with. Make sure to pinch the edges and corners so that the butter does not come out the sides. Working only lengthwise, gently roll the dough out to about a 20 x 9 inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour. With the short side facing you, fold the rectangle into thirds like a business letter. Turn the dough a quarter-turn clockwise so that the flap opening faces right, like a book. This completes your first turn!

                                               

Roll the dough out as you did before (lengthwise to a 20 x 9 inch rectangle), fold again into thirds. Second turn is done! Now wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour. You’re going to repeat the rolling, turning and chilling process for a total of 6 turns. Always start each turn with the opening of the dough to the right. It is important to know that if the dough becomes to soft at any time, return it to the fridge until it becomes more firm.

Once all the turns are done refrigerate for about 3-4 hours before using.

5 Responses to “Puff Pastry”

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