Yes, I know that this picture is pretty pathetic, but read on…
Puff pastry has been on my to-do list for so long. I’ve just not found the excuse to make it because I wouldn’t use it in everyday cooking. I rarely cook with puff-pastry, in fact the last time I did cook with it was probably around 2000. That was when I was a lot unhealthier. I’d buy Asda’s frozen puff pastry, roll it out, cut the pastry into squares, place a slice of mature (sharp) cheese diagonally, top it with a rasher of bacon, then folded the two corners of the square over the cheese/bacon filling and baked them. Now, I’d hate to think how much fat and calories was in each one of those pastries!
W & S were having a drinks party one Saturday, and I was told that my nibbles were always welcome. My plan was to make mini sausage rolls, cheese sables and may be some crostini and tuna paste.
I made the pastry in advance and was going to assemble them on Friday, to be baked on Saturday. But we ended up not going, because J was sick with flu. Luckily I hadn’t made anything other than the puff pastry, which can be frozen for later use.
I was a little disappointed because I wanted to see how well my puff pastry turned out. I was so determined to see, that I cut a small chunk off before freezing it, flattened it and baked it at 200°C/400°F. Apparently, a really well made puff pastry should puff up by at least four times its original size when baked. Mine did an excess of four times – I was very impressed! Why I doubt my skill, I have no idea! It was lop-sided pastry because the piece that I cut off was at the edge, where very few layers are created during the folding process.
I will definitely upload better pictures when I get around to using this pastry! Ok, I finally used this batch of puff pastry to make palmiers – the result was excellent:
ALL-BUTTER PUFF PASTRY
Makes around 750 g (1 ⅔ lb)
Adapted from “Baker and Spice – Baking with Passion“, by D. Lepard and R. Whittington
For the butter package
- 170 g (¾ c) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 75 g (½ c) plain (all-purpose) flour
For the dough
- 280 g (1 ¾ c and 1 ½ T) plan (all-purpose) flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 90 ml (⅓ c and 2 t) water
- 1 t salt
1. Make the butter package by mixing together the butter and flour. Flatten to a 1 cm (½ inch) thick square/rectangle. Wrap well with cling film (plastic wrap) and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
2. To make the dough, place the flour, egg yolks and salt into a stand mixer bowl.
3. With the dough hook attachment on at low speed, gradually add the water (you may not use it all) whilst mixing/kneading. Once a ball of dough is formed, knead for 5-8 minutes, or until soft and elastic.
4. Shape into a flattish square/rectangle about 1 cm (½ inch) thick. Wrap well with cling film (plastic wrap) and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
5. On a floured wooden surface, roll out the dough to a size big enough to envelope the butter package.
6. Envelop the butter package so that the dough ends overlap.
7. Roll the pastry out to 15-17 ½ cm x 32 ½ -35 cm (6-7 inch x 13-14 inch), then fold along the shortest ends about one-sixth in, then fold again, then fold again like closing a book. This should make six layers in this step.
8. Roll the dough until about 1 cm (½ inch) thick, then fold the dough into three, perpendicular to step 7 (should make 3 layers in this step). Wrap and chill for 1 hour.
9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 three more times.
10. Roll the resulting dough to about 1 cm (½ inch) thick, wrap in cling film and either chill/freeze until required (allow for a 24 hour refrigerator thaw).