Today I attempted my first ever homemade puff pastry. It was totally unnecessary and received eye rolling, sighing and characteristic head shaking from my ‘non-foodie’ father who, ironically, would be reaping the benefits later that evening, in the form of Salmon en croute. I’ve always looked upon puff pastry as a superfluous endeavour when the supermarkets provide such satisfactory pre-made effort, however, I had some time today, I love cooking and, hey, I thought I’d add it to my repertoire.
Findings. So either I had put the tricky task of making this on a golden plated throne of difficulty or it is actually much easier than people make out, but I must admit, it took much less time than I’d thought, it was simple to create and produced puffed, laminated layers of buttery pastry! So for anyone who has never made it and wants to sample the proper stuff, then give this one a go……it was the first recipe I used, and appeared to work well! Hopefully it wasn’t beginners luck…..(Makes about 600g block)
- 245g plain flour
- 40g chilled cubed butter
- Pinch salt
- 215g unsalted butter block
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 130ml cold water
- Begin by mixing the flour, salt and 40g of cubed butter in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until you form a breadcrumb-like mixture.
- Make a well in the centre and add the water and lemon juice and mix with a fork until you have a ball of dough. Using your hands, knead lightly until you form a smooth dough. For into a ball and then using a knife, score a deep cross in the top to allow the dough to stretch and relax as it rests. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place you 215g block of butter between a folded sheet of parchment. Using a rolling pin, bash heavily to flatten the block and soften it, whilst maintaining it in a cold state, to about 1 cm thick, in a square. Return to the fridge.
- After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge. Take the corner of each of the crosses you scored and pull them out and roll them using a rolling pin, outwards so they flatten leaving a thicker mound of dough in the middle to accommodate the bulk of the butter that will be added.
- Making sure it is slightly smaller than your flat dough, place the chilled sheet of butter in the centre and fold in the corners of the dough to cover it completely.
- Flour the work surface well to prevent it sticking and roll the dough, totally encased in butter, into a long rectangle, about 40cm long and 18cm wide. You are now ready for your first folding.
- With the short side facing you, bring the top 3rd of pastry down about 2/3rds of the way and the bottom 3rd up to cover it like a book [as seen above]. Then rotate clockwise 90°.
- Repeat this rolling to 40cm and folding again. Then wrap in cling film and quickly chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Bring the dough out and place it in front of you as if it has just been folded. Rotate 90 and repeat steps 7 and 8 so that it has been rolled and folded twice more. Wrap and chill again for 30 minutes.
- Finally, repeat this process once more, so that in total it is rolled and folded 6 times. At this stage the dough can be shaped as desired and chilled again for 30 minutes before baking. Or it can be left until needed/frozen.
- It is usually baked, brush with beaten egg, (direct from its chilled state to prevent the butter melting) at about 200-220°C for 20 minutes as a rough approximation depending what you are doing with it!