I have seen it written that life is too short to make puff pastry. In the UK I firmly believe that was the case as the all butter choices of puff pastry were very good and easy to purchase from any supermarket. In Canada the choices are a little limited and so I figured that it was about time I made my own. It was first made for the Turkey Wellington, eaten on Christmas Day in our house. It was fab and so it has been made a few times since and unless I am in a desperate dash I will be making it myself from now on.
It's not that technical but has quite a few steps that require time in between some of them. So pick an afternoon when you are pottering around your kitchen anyway and try a batch:
225g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
- ½ tsp salt
- 200g room temp unsalted butter
- 50g cold butter cut into cubes
- 150ml ice-cold water
Take the 200g of butter and squash it between a sheet of greaseproof paper
Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter out, try and keep it in a rectangle shape. Place to one side and do not refrigerate. You need this butter to be the same consistency of the pastry dough so it blends into it when folding later.
Place the flour, salt and cold, cubed butter in a bowl. Using your fingertips, pick up chunks of the mix and rub it between your fingers. Keep picking and rubbing until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. Next add the some of the water and using a round tipped knife start mixing. Keep adding bits of water (you may not need it all) and mixing. You will start to feel the dough get a little heaver on the knife and start to come together a little. Stop mixing and grab the dough with your hand, bringing it together to form one ball of dough. Try to handle the dough as little as possible at this stage. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Flour your surface and roll out the dough. Place the soft butter in the middle of the dough.
Fold the corners of the dough over the pastry. Roll the dough and then fold one side over a third of the way and then spin it around 90 degrees and fold the other edge over making it a third of the size. Roll out again trying to keep it as rectangular as you can and fold into a third of its size again. If you start to feel the butter coming through the dough simply chill it for a little and then roll and fold again. I generally fold and roll about 5 or 6 times. The more folds the more layers the butter creates, making lighter, flakier pastry.
Wrap once again in cling film and chill for at least a couple of hours before you use it.