Classical Puff Pastry
Recipe courtesy of Peggy Cullen
- Total Time:
- 4 hr
- 4 hr
- 2- 3/4 pounds of dough
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process few seconds to combine. Cut 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of the butter into small pieces and process with the flour until there are no lumps and the mixture is the texture of cornmeal.
Pour half the ice water in a large bowl and turn the flour mixture onto it. Sprinkle the remaining water over it, reserving one tablespoon. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, drizzle the ice water evenly over it and toss like a salad until the dough comes together in a ragged mass. Add the remaining water if necessary. Cover in plastic wrap and chill.
Meanwhile, place the remaining butter between layers of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin to make malleable. Place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and, using your hands or a rolling pin, shape it into a 6-inch square.
Remove the dough from the fridge, lightly flour the work surface and, using either your hands or a rolling pin, shape the mass into 12-inch square. Place the butter on the dough catty-corner and fold the edges of the dough into the center to enclose it.
Lightly flour the surface of the dough and roll it into a rectangle measuring about 12 inches high x 26 inches wide. If the dough sticks, loosen it underneath with a long flexible metal palette knife and scrape off any butter sticking to the work surface. Brush off any excess flour. Fold the dough into thirds and turn it 90 degrees, so that seams are parallel to the table's edge. This is called a "turn". Lightly flour and roll it out again to about 12 x 26 inches. Brush off the excess flour and again fold it into thirds. Place the dough on a sheet tray, cover it with a plastic bag and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Repeat this, giving the dough two more turns, each time rolling it out to 12 x 26 inches. Refrigerate for another 20 or 30 minutes, then give the dough 2 final turns. There are six turns in all.
Lightly roll it to flatten and even it. Wrap it in plastic wrap or a bag and chill for at least two hours before using it. It can be kept, refrigerated, for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
To roll pastry: (for home size 11 x 17-inch sheet trays)
For thinly rolled dough (1/16-inch) used to make little pizzas start with 15 ounces (1/3 of the recipe). For thickly rolled dough (3/8-inch) used for everything else, start with 22 ounces (1/2 recipe).
Line an 11 x 17-inch sheet tray with parchment paper. On a floured table, roll the rectangle of dough to a length of 15 inches and a width of 10 inches. Dust off any excess flour. Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and transfer it to the sheet tray. Using a 10-inch rolling pin and rolling gently from the center out, roll the dough to fit the tray. Make sure it is even - with no lumpy edges. Rolling lightly and gently enables you to keep it even.
Shapes to cut out of the 3/8-inch thick dough:
Bouchee: Cut 2 (3-1/2-inch) rounds of dough. Cut a 2-1/4-inch circle out of the second round. Egg wash the first round. Place the ring from the second round over the first so that the edges line up. Dock the edges and center with a fork. Thin inner circle can be baked as well and used for a lid.
Bouchee made from special cutter: Use and cutter made especially for this purpose. It has two cutting edges - one inside and shorter than the other that scores, rather than cuts the dough.
Criss-cross Tartlet: Cut a 5-inch square. Fold it into a triangle and cut from each edge towards the apex, stopping about 1/2-inch short of the apex. The cut should be about 1/2-inch from the edge. Open it up to the square and place on a cookie sheet. Egg wash the edges. Bring one point over to the opposite corner of the inner square and press. Bring the opposite point over and press. Press along the rim to seal. Dock rim and center.
Puff Strip: From a sheet tray of frozen dough, cut a rectangular piece 8" wide and the length of the sheet tray. Transfer it to a paper lined cookie sheet. Using a pizza wheel, cut a 3/4" strip from each edge. Egg wash the edges of the center piece and flip the cut strips onto the egg washed edge. Dock the 2 rims with a fork, then dock down the center.
Vol-au-Vent: Similar to above, but round. Press whatever size round you want into the dough on the sheet tray. Lift and cut along the circular impression with a pizza wheel. Center another round, and inch or so smaller in diameter than the first over the circle of dough and press lightly. Remove and cut along this line. Egg was the edge, as above, and cut through the outer rim in one place. Place the rim over the center circle, lining up the edges. Dock the rim with a fork, then dock the center. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 425 degree F. oven.