Don’t Fear the Crust! Puff pastry Edition.

Puff pastry

Once upon a time, puff pastry seemed like one of those foods that is so mysterious and complex that you have to buy it ready-made. Well, that’s not quite true. Once you’ve made it once or twice, you’ll see how easy it can be. It is time-consuming, but it’s not really labor-intensive. And it’s not actually all that complicated. If you have a day that you’re going to be around the house anyway, doing other things, or in-and-out… that’s the day to make puff pastry. To be completely honest, the pasté brisée recipe I’ve mentioned, with the frozen, grated butter, makes pastry almost as flaky, and takes a lot less time. There’s something about puff pastry, though…it’s like a dragon to be tamed and befriended. Personally, I think it works best for smaller things that you don’t mold the heck out of. It’s very versatile, though!!

Here’s Broken Social Scene with Puff the Magic Dragon, because there is something magical about puff pastry.

2 cups flour
white pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, frozen
ice water

A-here we go…

This might seem sort of counter intuitive, but you’re going to mix 3/4 of the flour with 1/4 of the butter, and vice versa.

So, first thing is to measure 2 cups of flour into a big bowl. Add some salt, and I always put a bit of white pepper in crust, because I like white pepper. But that’s optional.

Next…take your stick of butter out of the freezer. Put 1/4 cup of flour in a smaller bowl.

Grate 6 tablespoons of butter in the bowl with the teeny bit of flour. Grate 2 T of butter in the bowl with the 1 3/4 of flour.

Mix the mostly butter-and-tiny-bit-of-flour together. You need to knead them a bit, and let the warmth of your hand blend it all together. Once it’s cohesive, form it into a square that’s maybe 4X4X 3/4″

Mix the mostly flour-and-tiny-bit-of-butter bowl with your fingertips till you’ve got coarse breadcrumbs. Add ice water till you can pull it together into a workable dough (about 3/4 cup)

What you’ll have now is a ball of dough, and a square of butter with a little bit of flour in it…

Wrap these up in some foil or plastic and put them in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour.

Then…take out the ball of dough. Cut about 1/2″ deep in a cross shape…

Gently pull the four corners apart. With a rolling pin, flatten this to make a clover shape, with about a 5 or 6 inch square in the middle. The dough should be about 1/3″ thick at this point.

Put the square of chilled butter-with-a-bit-of-flour in the middle of this.

Fold one clover petal over, wrap it gently around the butter square, tucking the ends under slightly. Then fold another clover petal over. Then another. Then the last, tucking these ends under mostly securely of all.

Press gently with the heel of your hand (your hand-heels) to make this a larger, flatter square. Maybe 10 inches. Be careful not to squish out the butter. Then, take a rolling pin and gently, non-squishingly roll this out to about 1/4 inch. It will be quite big at this point. Maybe a foot by a foot and a half. Put this in a big jelly roll pan, or something like that, cover it with a damp cloth and put it in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour.

Take your giant rectangle of dough out again and roll it even bigger and flatter. Maybe 12 X 24 inches, and about 1/8th inch thick. Fold 1/3 of the dough towards the center. Fold the other side over that to make a smaller 3-layered rectangle. Maybe 12 inches by 8 inches.

Put this back in the fridge covered with a damp cloth. Now, for the rest of the day, all you do is take this rectangle of dough out of the fridge, roll it out to the larger rectangle (12X24X1/8th inch) Then fold the sides in, and put it in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour. You do this 5 times! Then you’re done!! And you use it any way that you want!!

The crackers in this picture were made by simply rolling out the dough to about 1/4 inch, cutting it in slices, and baking it at 425 for about 15 minutes.

That is all.


4 thoughts on “Don’t Fear the Crust! Puff pastry Edition.

  1. Pingback: Eggplant Wellington | Out of the Ordinary

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