So here we have, Puff Pastry. My last two pro baking classes were devoted to the puff and to croissants. (which we’ll get to later) We ended up using the puff pastry for apple turnovers and palmiers. Verrrry classic recipes, but both verrrry good.
The puff pastry is time consuming to make, but extremely worth it! It’s hard to find a butter-based pre-made puff pastry in stores, but if you can, stock up! I know Pepperidge Farm makes a favorite puff pastry among home bakers, but unfortunately it’s made with ONLY shortening. You can find butter-based puff pastry in specialty stores and some Whole Foods, but they’re on the more expensive side. A great deal is Trader Joe’s who carry it seasonally, but then you have to stock up!
If you have some extra time on your hands and are in need of puff pastry, then go for it. It’s really not that difficult…just takes time. J
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2/3 c. cake flour
- 10 ½ oz. unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ to 1 c. ice water
Sidenote: The instructions call for a food processor, but you can do this just as easily with a bowl and your hands.
Combine flours and salt in food processor fitted with metal blade. Cut 4 tbsp. of butter into small pieces and add to processor (keep the remaining butter in the fridge). Pulse until mixture is like corn meal. With motor running, add ¾ cup ice water and process just until dough beings to hold together. If dough is dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to hold together.
Transfer dough to a work surface and knead very lightly. Flatten to a disk, lightly flour, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes until firm.
Lightly flour remaining butter on both sides and place it between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Pound butter with a rolling pin to flatten and soften it. Don’t be afraid to be loud! When the butter is flattened to about ¾ inch thick, fold it into thirds, lightly flour again, and place back in between the paper. Pound again and repeat this process a few times until the butter becomes flexible. Work quickly though so that your butter does not become too soft and oily. Shape the butter into a 6 inch square and return to the fridge to cool, but do not let it harden.
Take dough out of fridge and roll on a cold, floured surface into a 10 inch diameter circle. Take the square of butter out of the fridge and place in the center of this circle. Pull dough from opposite sides around the butter and press down to seal the edges. Repeat with the side of your fist to make sure the dough is sealed.
Turn the dough over that it is seam side down. Pound lightly three or four times with the rolling pin to begin flattening and smoothing out the butter. Roll quickly to 20” by 8” rectangle. If butter begins seeping through the dough, pat with flour to keep the butter in tact. Starting with the narrow end, fold the dough in thirds like a business letter, and then have it facing you like a book. This is the second ‘turn’. (some recipes may call this first fold only the 1st turn, but in this case, it is our 2nd turn.) Make 2 indentations in the dough with your fingers as a reminder of how many turns were done. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Put dough with fold facing you and do two more turns. Each time you roll out the dough and fold it into thirds is considered ONE turn. (refrigerate between turns if it gets too soft) After you’ve completed these next 2 turns, mark the dough with four fingers and refrigerate 20-30 minutes again.
On the day you are using the dough, do two more turns, for a total of 6. Refrigerate until firm and then roll, cut, and bake as desired.