This pastry, which is generally considered to be the best of the pastries in flavour and texture and the most difficult to make, should be made with the finest ingredients. The flour should be of good quality and the butter unsalted or lightly salted. The amount of water in the recipe ingredients is only approximate as different makes of flour may absorb more or less water.
The object in the making of puff’ pastry is to produce thin layers of dough interspersed with thin layers of butter. When the dough is cooked, the butter is absorbed by the starch particles when they burst and the result is a pastry of light horizontal flakes which will melt in the mouth.
Puff pastry is used for making BOUCHEES, MILLE-FEUILLE, VOL-AU-VENT and small sweet or savoury pastries.
When making puff pastry, it is important that the consistency of the dough and the slab of butter should be the same, that is pliable but not sticky.
When rolling out the dough use an even pressure, avoid stretching the dough and keep the thickness of the dough the same all over. Do not use too much flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the working surface or rolling pin, otherwise the proportions of flour to butter will alter and produce a less satisfactory pastry.
Once the rolling and folding processes have been completed, the puff pastry dough may be covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If the dough is refrigerated for any length of time, remember to remove it from the refriger-ator before it is needed so that it may become pliable and easy to roll into the required shape. Puff pastry may also be stored in a home freezer for up to 3 months. If you are freezing puff pastry, pack it in 8-ounce or 1-pound portions and wrap it in moisturc-vapour-proof paper or freezer foil.
The yield given for our basic recipe is based on the amount of flour used. The recipe may be halved if a small quantity is required. If large quantities of pastry are required it is best to make two batches of
1 pound each.
1 lb. flour
2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. butter
8 fl. oz. iced water
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. With a table knife, cut 4 ounces of the butter into the flour. Crumble the butter and flour with your fingertips and, with the water, mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough to make it pliable and form it into a ball. Cover with greaseproof or waxed paper and place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
Put the remaining butter between two pieces of greaseproof or Waxed paper and beat it with the back of a wooden spoon or a wooden mallet into a flat oblong slab about -J-inch thick.
On a floured board, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape J-inch thick. Place the slab of butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over it to make a parcel. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for a further 10 minutes.
Place the dough, with the folds down-wards, on the board and roll out away from you into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in three. Turn so that the open end is facing you and roll out again. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Then repeat this process twice more.
The dough is now ready for use.