Some things just taste better when they are home made! And that is the case with puff pastry! I didn’t realize there was a difference to crusts and pastry desserts until I met my husband. His grandma was known for her pies, and the pie makin’ genes were definitely passed down to him. He often refuses to eat crusts made with shortening and vegetable fat, and it wasn’t until we participated in a pie making contest and I tasted a bunch of different pies that I realized he was right. The quality of the ingredients matter. And we have found that the more organic the ingredients, the more vibrant the food tastes. This is certainly the case with puff pastry dough as well.
The trick with puff pastry is the dough must be kept cold. The reason for this is as you turn the dough part with the butter part, you are creating layer upon layer of butter. And when you cook the dough, the butter cooks and helps to “puff” the dough. This process is what makes the pastry so flaky and delicate.
The dough must also be folded 6 times and refrigerated between each folding. This keeps the dough workable and also intact. We wouldn’t want any of that yummy butter to escape now would we!
It helps if you are patient and enjoying the process when you are making puff pastry. You will have downtime between each rolling, so you can, I don’t know, do some laundry, take the kids or dog for a playful stroll, or even better, look up some tasty recipes for your puff pastry!
The one thing I will point out about rolling out the dough is to keep you work surface lightly floured. Each time you roll out the dough, lift each side and dust underneath and dust places where the butter might be breaking thru. This will help to keep your dough intact. Just remember that if you are too generous with the flour, it can start to toughen the dough. It will most likely still puff when baked, but it may not have that airy fairy fluffy flakiness to it.
Onto the delightful puff pastry recipe:
How to Make Puff Pastry Dough
INGREDIENTS and DIRECTIONS (For the dough part)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (organic is best 😉
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 tbsp butter (I always like salted butter, and we use KerryGold salted
brand, but lots of people will say to do unsalted butter)
1 – 1 1/2 cups cold water (with ice in it)
Place the flour and salt in a bowl and lightly mix. Drop in the butter and squeeze with the flour in your hand. Drop in a little water at a time, again squeezing the ingredients together. The dough should start to become sticky when you’ve reached 1 1/2 cups of water. You may need a tiny bit more or less. Just get the dough to the point where it is starting to stick together and sticking to the bowl.
Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough, adding flour as needed for about 7 minutes. The dough should form into a ball. Cut a cross into the top and place in a lightly floured bag or cover in a bowl and set in fridge for 20 minutes.
INGREDIENTS and DIRECTIONS (For the butter part)
16 oz. KerryGold (or your favorite butter), salted or unsalted, salted tends to give it a more rich flavor
4 tsp lemon juice (about one lemon)
1/2 tsp salt (you can add less salt if using salted butter, but we tend to still add salt)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Grate the butter or cut into small chunks. Add the lemon juice. Add the salt and flour. Squeeze ingredients together with hands. Work quickly and drop the butter mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the butter into a small flat rectangle (this will be placed on top of your dough from above and become the layer of butter that gets worked into the dough- also known as the yummy part). Place the butter into a floured bag and seal and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
DIRECTIONS FOR COMBINING THE DOUGH AND BUTTER
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough into a large square (a little over a foot across).
Take the butter out of the fridge and place the flattened square of butter into the middle of the dough. Take each corner of the dough and bring it to the center, covering the butter and overlapping the dough a bit. Use a rolling pin to tamp down the dough with the butter inside, making sure not to let any butter escape. Roll out the dough into a flat square or rectangle again (the butter layer is now inside). Fold the dough towards the center like you fold a business letter. Place the dough folded in a dish and cover with wrap. Set in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Take the dough out of the fridge and tamp and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface. The trick to keeping the dough intact is to pull up each edge of the dough and flour underneath (as the dough will start to stick to your work surface and butter may start to escape (and we don’t want any butter to escape!) Roll out the dough and then fold again towards the center like a business letter. Cover and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Repeat this tamping, rolling out, folding process 5 more times (for a total of 6 times).
You now have puff pastry ready to use. You can cut this recipe in half and save some dough in the fridge to use for another recipe.
Make sure when you roll out the pastry for your recipe, you cut the edges off and leave the cut edge (this produces that “puff” along the edge and shows all the buttery layers!
Some great puff pastry recipes include Fruit Filled Turnovers and Fruit Filled Tarts, but you can also cut the pastry dough into long strips and give them a twist. Set them on a parchment lined baking sheet, coat with a beaten egg and some superfine sugar or confectioners sugar and bake in an oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes to make Butterfly Twists. Very yummy treats with coffee or tea!
SWEETIE PIE AND CUPCAKES FAVORITE PRODUCTS