Puff, The Magic Pastry
Can anything compare to the crackly thousand (yes, thousand) layered buttery puff pastry? Hot, melt-in-your-mouth goodness? I can’t think of anything. Have you tried making it yourself? Sure, it takes a while, but it’s fun, therapeutic (Beating the block of butter is a great stress reliever) and very much worth the effort. Most of the time is inactive. You just have to be hanging around the house that day. There’s a quick method and a regular method. The quick method involves cutting up the butter and working it into the dough, but honestly, I find the regular method not much more work and you get a higher rise from more layers.
3 ½ cups pastry flour
1 ½ t salt
1 ¼ cup water
1 lb. butter
Place 1 lb. butter (four quarters pressed side by side) between 2 sheets of Saran wrap. The butter should be cold but not frozen. Pound into a square ½ inches thick. Set aside while you roll out the dough into a square thicker in the middle and slightly larger than the size as the butter. Place the butter in the center of the dough with the corners of the dough pointing away from the sides of the butter (see diagram). Fold the dough over the butter to encase it completely.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle making sure that no butter is exposed. Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter. Roll out again into a rectangle and fold into thirds again. Place in a damp towel and refrigerate for a half hour. Take it out, roll out and fold again, repeat and place back in refrigerator for another half hour. That was its 4th “turn.” Each turn can be marked by a slight finger indentation in the dough. Continue in this fashion for a total of 6 turns.
The last time you roll it out, you can cut it in half and you will have two 1-lb. pieces of beautiful puff pastry with which you can made a wide variety of sweet and savory masterpieces such as sweet tarts. vols au vent, palmiers, savory tarts, mustard batons, savory tarts and chicken pot pie
They can be used immediately, refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen. Defrost by placing in refrigerator overnight.
Puff Pastry with Grilled Onions Photo by Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Other Photos by Michael Kirigin