Puff Pastry is one of those things that is just better made from scratch than bought in the freezer section of the grocery store. It seems a little intimidating to make with all the steps and the time it takes to make it but is really just a matter of repeating steps over again.
I made my puff pastry recipe to do an appetizer for a wine tasting so I baked it into little squares.
Don’t let this recipe scare you off. I am never as precise as all the books tell you, especially when rolling and shaping. By time you get to the last step you’ll have a nice neat rectangle. My recipe was adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe.
Source: Sharon E. Russell
In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2 cups (9 oz/250 g) of the all-purpose flour and the salt.
Pour in the ice water and mix on low speed until a smooth batter forms.
Scatter the butter pieces over the surface. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the remaining all-purpose flour (4.4 oz/125 g) and cake flour 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz/75 g) at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. About 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 15-20 seconds to make sure it is smooth and not sticky.
Flatten the dough and shape it into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
While the dough is in the refrigerator make the butter packet. It is easiest to make if you have a solid block of butter but you can smash the sticks together and work it. Use a marble or granite board to work the butter on. With the heel of your hand or a rolling pin, beat or knead the butter on a work surface to flatten and warm it until it is cool and pliable, about 60°F/16°C. Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently press the flour into the butter. If it gets too soft refrigerate it to cool it off.
Shape the butter into a 6 inch (15 cm) square about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. For the next step you will want the butter at the pliable stage, 60°F/16°C, so refrigerate or lay on the counter.
I used the Kerry Gold butter in mine and it gets soft very quickly. I just smashed mine all together and pushed the flour in. Then I wrapped it in the plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator until just before I was ready to use. Different butters will have different melting temperatures.
Once your initial dough has been refrigerated for 1 hour you are ready to laminate the dough.
On a lightly floured marble or granite surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch (30 cm) square.
Pat with your hands to form an 8 inch (20 cm) square, then turn the square over so the seams are underneath.
With the short end facing you fold the bottom third up and then the top third down. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. This is the first turn.
Repeat the process of rolling the rectangle and folding it 5 more times for a total of 6 times. Chill 20-30 minutes in-between each time.
After the sixth turn of rolling and folding the dough, wrap in plastic and place in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight before shaping.
You can store this pastry for later use. Wrap in plastic wrap and a sealed plastic bag and freeze for up to one month.
Close up of the laminated dough after 6 turns. You can see all the layers created by rolling and folding.
Now to make something with your puff pastry. We will just bake the squares of pastry to be used as an appetizer base.
Cut off a section of puff pastry, about 1/3 to 1/2 and refrigerate the remaining. Roll the pastry into a rectangle on your board to about 1/8 inch (.3 cm) thick.
Place squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. This step is important so that the pastry doesn’t shrink when baking.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6. Bake until the squares are golden brown, 13-17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Baked puff pastry is best when freshly made. Alternatively, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
10 hours including resting times:
Mixing time 20 minutes
First refrigerate 1 hour
First roll with dough packet 15 minutes
5 more rolls – 10 min each; 50 minutes
5 more refrigerate – 30 min each; 2 1/2 hours
Final dough refrigerate 4 hours
Rolling and shaping – 20 minutes
Refrigeration – 45 minutes
Baking – 20 minutes