One of my aims for 2020 is to try and expand my baking repertoire. I’ve always enjoyed making cakes, but beyond that I have to accept that I rarely experiment. You may have already picked up my new found love for all things baking though my recent recipes, like Chocolate Eclairs and Preztels.
It was only a matter of time before I had to confront “proper” pastry again. I feel like I’ve got Shortcrust sorted, but one thing I’d not tried until recently was Puff Pastry. If you ever watch shows like the Great British Bake Off you’ll probably think that it’s something nobody should waste their time doing at home. Until recently I was of the same opinion. I always used to buy in pastry – easy to do as the quality of the store-bought options is rather good.
However, it turns out that making puff pastry from scratch is pretty straightforward. Yes, it takes a bit of time, but it’s not like you need to commit hours of your life to it. A lot of the time is spent waiting for it to rest in the fridge – so you could do pretty much anything else that takes your fancy.
This recipe sits somewhere between full puff and rough puff pastry. It doesn’t need you to roll out slabs of butter and fold the pastry an endless number of times. But equally, you do need to do a bit of work up front to ensure that you get perfectly golden, flaky pastry after baking it in the oven.
There are five folding steps in this recipe – all of which can be done in quick succession. Though if your kitchen is a bit warm you may want to let the pastry rest a little more than the following instructions suggest. And rest really is important here – the butter shouldn’t melt until the pastry is baked. If it starts to get too soft then pop it into the fridge to regain its composure before overworking it. That extra bit of patience really is worthwhile.
So, without further ado, let’s have a quick look at the steps:
Quick Puff Pastry
- 350 g Plain Flour
- Pinch Sea Salt
- 50 g Cold Salted Butter cut into 1cm cubes
- 130-150 ml Ice Cold Water
- 200 g Salted Butter Frozen
- First up, let's start with the golden rule of making pastry: you don't want the butter to melt until you come to cook the pastry. As such, it's important that all of the ingredients are cold. The cubed butter should come straight from the fridge, the water should be ice cold and so on. Some people like to put the flour and mixing bowl into the fridge too – which seems a little excessive to me – but if it's a warm day you might want to consider doing the same.
- Sift the flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub into the flour until you get a coarse sandy texture. A few larger bits of butter won’t be an issue, but you want the butter to be well distributed through the flour.
- Add the ice cold water 1 tbsp at a time, mixing with your hands between each addition, until the dough comes together into a ball. For me that happens around 8-9 tbsp, but you may need a little more water depending on your flour.
- When the dough has come together into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust your worksurface with flour. Take the chilled dough out of the fridge, then carefully roll it out until it forms a rectangle about twice as long as it is wide. It should be less than 1cm in thickness at this stage. Tap in the edges to try and keep the rectangle as even as possible.
- Grate the frozen butter into a chilled bowl. Distribute half of the butter over two-thirds of the rolled out pastry. Fold the bottom, uncovered, third up over the middle third of the pastry, then fold the top third down over the same area. It’s a bit like folding a letter to fit it into an envelope. When done correctly you will have a layers that go pastry, butter, pastry, butter, pastry.
- Rotate the folded block of pastry through 90 degrees then roll it out again to a similar sized rectangle as the one you started with, again you want it to be less than 1cm in thickness. Repeat the butter and folding stage with the remaining grated butter, as described above.
- Rotate the block through 90 degrees, roll out into a rectangle and fold it into thirds a further three times. You don’t need to add any more butter here, but these steps help to create the layers. If it feels like the pastry is getting a bit soft (i.e. too warm) then pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow it to cool between these folding stages. Taking a bit of extra time now is worth it!
- When you’ve completed five folds, wrap the pastry in cling film and pop into the fridge to properly chill for at least 2 hours before using in the recipe of your choice.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||16||g|
|of which Sugars||1||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|