Monday, December 20, 2010

Puff Pastry

I realize that not everyone is like me but when I spend an exorbitant amount of time creating something, it tastes even better to me when it's all done. So if you're anything like me, this next recipe is for you. If it's not for you, feel free to read on anyway. I'm going to walk you step by step through the process of creating a wonderful, flaky Puff Pastry dough that you can use in any number of fantastic pastries like Turnovers, Palmiers and Napoleons.

This puff pastry recipe takes upwards of nine hours to complete and that's not even making anything with it yet. It is such a fun process though and results in the best tasting, light  and flaky pastry that you will ever taste.

Step 1: Things to keep in Mind

Temperature is Key. The butter and the dough must remain cold. If either warms too much, the pastry won't have the flaky crust when you bake it. If at any time the butter starts to soften or the dough becomes sticky, place it back in the fridge immediately.

Although this takes a significant amount of time, it really is mainly time spent waiting for the dough to cool down. Make this on a day when you'll be home most of the day and can take a few minutes to keep rolling it out.

This recipe makes enough for three different recipes that use 1lb of puff pastry so you can freeze the rest of it for use later.

Step 2: Make the initial dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup ice water, or more as needed

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook,  combine 2 cups of the all purpose flour and the salt. Pour in the ice water and mix on low speed until smooth. Scatter the butter pieces over the surface. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the remaining all-purpose flour and the cake flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 15-20 seconds to make sure it is smooth and not sticky. Flatten the dough, shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to overnight.

Step 3: Make the butter package
1 lb. unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand, beat or knead the butter until it is pliable. Sprinkle the butter with 2 tablespoons flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter.

Shape the butter into a 6 inch square about 3/4 inch thick. If the butter becomes too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable.

Remove the dough disk from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work work surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch square.

Place the butter at a diagonal in the center of the dough. Fold over the corners of the dough to meet in the center, covering the butter completely. Pat the dough with your hands to form an 8 inch square.

Step 4: Laminate the Dough

Place the 8 inch square dough package seam side down and roll out into a rectangle 24 inches long by 8 inches wide.

Now fold the dough into thirds. Fold the bottom third (narrow end) of the rectangle up past the center of the rectangle. Then fold the to third down, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough a quarter turn clockwise so that a fold is on your left. This is the first turn.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and repeat the lamination steps of rolling, folding, turning and chilling, to complete 3-5 additional turns(depending on what you'll make with them). Each time you start, make sure you have a fold on your left.

After the final turn, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight before shaping.

Step 5: Make a fantastic Pastry

Now you have a pastry that has been rolled and folded many times, creating layers of butter and dough that will create a flaky pastry that will make you the envy of whoever you choose to share them with!

Come back later this week for the recipe to make Apple Turnovers with your completed Puff Pastry!


  1. These look really great- I've never worked with puff pastry!

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