Although in principal Puff Pastry is easy to make it can be very time consuming which is why many people prefer to buy the ready to use Puff Pastry from a supermarket.
But making your own can give you a great sense of accomplishment and quiet often has a far better taste
When making Puff pastry the aim is to achieve layer upon layers of Dough with layers of Butter in-between each layer. By doing this and each time you give your pastry what’s called (A Book Fold) you
slowly increase the number of layers.
you give your pastry a total of 5 x book folds then overall you would end up with over 1000 layers which is why Puff Pastry is also known as 1000 leaf pastry, and its theses many layers that create the puff in Puff Pastry, as the butter acts as a barrier so
that when in the oven baking when the water/moisture in the pastry turns to steam as the steam cannot pass through the Butter layers it naturally starts to rise and push all the individual layers upwards which results in the nice open internal structure of
225g/8oz strong bread flour (Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before use)
Half a teaspoon of fine salt
pint ice-cold water
250g/9oz unsalted butter,
(Cold, “but” not rock hard) for what’s called the “Roll in fat”
(You can use half-butter and, half lard for the Roll in Fat) but this will tend to give the puff pastry a far more waxy taste in the mouth, so I prefer to use 100% high-quality Butter
You will also need a little plain flour to dust your work surface when rolling the pastry dough
Method: Known as the Scotch method
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, (Keeping the flour and bowl cool will
help you to get a better result later and create nice layers of pastry.)
Meanwhile, cut the butter into small cubes.
Using a round-bladed knife, stir the butter into the bowl until each piece is well coated with flour.
Pour in the ice cold water, then working quickly
use the knife to bring everything together to form a rough dough.
Gather the dough in the bowl using one hand, and then turn it onto the work surface. Squash the dough into a fat square shape but without kneading the dough
Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic and then chill the dough and
butter mixture in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Lightly flour the work surface and then roll out the pastry in one direction until it’s about 1cm thick and three times as long as it is wide, or about 45x15cm/18x6in.
Straighten up the sides with your hands now and again, and try to keep the top and bottom edges as square as possible.
Fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third down,
to make a block about 15x15cm/6x6in.
It doesn’t matter if the pastry isn’t exactly the right size - the
important thing is that all the corners are nice and square. After this wrap the pastry in the plastic again and chill for 15 minutes again
Then turn the dough so that its open edge is facing to the right, like a book. Gently press the edges of the pastry together
with the rolling pin.
Roll out and fold the pastry into 3 even portions again and then again wrap in the plastic and chill for a further 15 Minutes, repeat this same method for (Four times in all) to make a smooth dough, with buttery layers all through
If the pastry feels greasy at any point, or starts to spring back when as you roll, then cover and chill
it for 10 minutes before continuing…
Chill the finished pastry for about one hour before using it.
When you use the pastry roll it out in one direction lengthwise with the book opening facing your body with just the occasional rolling to its width to about the thickness
of a £1 coin
When baking puff pastries: bake sugared coated products at 180-200C/400F/Gas 6
And non sugared products such as sausage rolls at 200-240C / 500F/ Gas 7-8
Puff pastry variations
Once you have rolled out your Puff Pastry to the thickness of a (£
coin) you then need to cut the pastry it into the various sizes to produce your products.
rule of thumb for most individual products you need to start with a piece of pastry measuring (10 cm squires) and proceed as follows:
First make a mixture of 3-4 table spoons of currants, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and 1 good teaspoon of mixed spice and then
blend them all together with 2 tablespoons of melted un-salted butter, then set aside in the fridge so that the mixture can become slightly firm.
Any mixture not used can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for another time
firm add a good heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of the pastry square, then bring the four corners together as a peak and then the further four corners together in the same way and press the tightly together and press the pastry down, this affectively
make a small round pieces of pastry with the filling inside. Now turn the pastry over so that the sealed portion is at the bottom on your work surface and using a rolling–pin gently roll out to about (Three inches in diameter) Then brush the top with
a little water and dip into Granulated sugar and place on your clean non-greased baking tray and the using a wide flat bladed knife stab three (3) slots all the way through the pastry to the tray below...
Using the same 10cm squire pastry place a good
spoonful of pre-stewed Apples with cinnamon in the middle of the pastry and then bring one corner to the opposite corner to form a triangle and then press down the edges firmly...
Brush with a little water and then dip into granulated sugar and place on your clean grease free baking tray...
To make other variation of sweet products on the same lines but with various fillings jut follow the same procedures...
Puff pastry Millefeuille
For Millefeuille use 2-3 pieces of pastry the length of your baking tin and at
10cm wide, lay the strips of pastry onto your clean grease free baking tin and then using a fork stab tiny holes into the pastry, this will prevent the pastry from rising up excessively high and going out of shape.
Once baked and cool you can start to make up your layers of pastry, strawberry jam, and thick custard, gently pressing them all together. Then on the top decorate with
some thick hot water icing of (Fondant) and some streaks of chocolate...
For my sausage rolls I like to use the tined sausages as one sausage is generally about 10cm in length
First cut your pastry into Squires of 10cm, brush the bottom edge with a little water place the sausage in the middle and then fold the top portion over to meet the bottom
edge of the pastry and then press the two pieces firmly together .
Lightly press a knife edge into the top of the
pastry for some decorative affect, place onto your clean grease free baking tray and then brush with a little beaten egg ready for baking...
With any Puff Pastry product once you have made the products ready let then rest for at least 15
minutes before baking as this will prevent the pastry shrinking or blowing out of shape...
Any Puff pastry
not used or cutting can be kept on a freezer bag for latter use or the cuttings used in your next mixture...