Ingredient list for the puff pastry
For approx. 1lb (500g) of puff pastry:
- 1/2 lb (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
- 1/2 cup (125ml) of water
- 7 ounces (200g) butter
1. Start by making the dough. Sift the flour over your work surface and make a well in the middle. Pour in the salt and water. Mix with your fingertips, gradually incorporating the flour.
2. When the mixture has slightly thickened and is no longer in danger of sinking, quickly incorporate the remaining flour, adding a little water if necessary. Knead to form a ball, then make a cross cut of 1 inch (2cm) deep — it helps to break the elasticity of the dough. Wrap with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. Meanwhile, place the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten it by hand (I admit it’s a bit tedious!) or use a rolling pin. You must completely flatten the butter and shape it like square about 1cm thick.
4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Spread it like a cross — see the picture —, keeping the center slightly thicker than the branches. Then place the butter square in the center. The key is to be able to enclose the butter well.
5. Then fold each edge of the cross, to cover the butter.
6. Flatten the whole thing into a rectangle 3 times longer than wide. Flour the dough to avoid it sticking to the rolling pin. Once the rectangle is complete, remove excess flour with a brush, and then fold into three. Rotate a quarter turn and repeat the process: make a rectangle and fold it into 3. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
7. After 20 minutes, repeat the same process for the third and fourth time, rotating 1 quarter each time, and then let cool again for 20 minutes. Then give the fifth and the sixth round (always the same) just before using it for your tarts, appetizers etc.
If the dough is prepared in advance (for the next day for example), it is best to stop at the fourth rotation and make the last two just before use. Same for freezing the dough — it works fine — stop at fourth operation and pull the dough the day before use, thaw it slowly in the fridge and give the last two folding rounds at the last moment. Here you are!
(This article was originally posted on february 17, 2013)