I know what you’re thinking. Pastry? That can’t be easy?? Well, my friends, that’s what I thought as well. I was scrolling through Pinterest one day and saw a post called 15 Minute Puff Pastry and I was highly skeptical… so naturally, I tried it.
Admittedly, my first endeavor was pretty much a total fail, but I knew what I did wrong so I tried it again. This time, I remembered to follow directions and flour the surface of the dough in between each layer and voila! Now, I am not a fabulous baker. I hail from rock-solid biscuits and improvised ingredients, so I don’t blame myself. So if I can do it, you can do it too!
Because I’ve made this about two dozen times a few times since my first try, I’ve tweaked the method a little bit and it really made the process easier, so hopefully these tips will help you as well.
Instead of using a pastry cutter or trying to wrangle two knives to combine the cold butter and flour, I tried the cheese grater. If you put the butter in the freezer for 15-30 minutes and then run that bad boy over a cheese grater, it will save you so much time and frustration. After the butter, flour, and salt are in the bowl, I used a fork to combine the ingredients before adding in the cold water.
I also did a bit of an experiment to compare different methods of creating those deliciously flaky layers. Some methods call for flour between folds (like the one I mentioned earlier) and some call for melted butter or shortening. So I did a side-by-side comparison two see whether butter or flour would render the best results:
Here you can see the Specimen A (flour) on the left and Specimen B (butter) on the right. I was surprised to see that butter actually proved to be more effective once baked. You can see that it’s not sinking in the center and the flakes are even visible on the edges… mmm…
I hope you’ll try this recipe out! Puff Pastry is such a versatile food… you can dip it in chocolate and serve with fruit for dessert, or you can wrap it around asparagus and Prosciutto for a hearty appetizer. What’s your favorite way to use Puff Pastry?
Servings: sheet (about equivalent to a pre-made box)
Making the Pastry Dough
Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
Using a cheese grater, shred the butter into the flour mixture. Then use a fork to combine the butter and flour together - it will be very crumbly, do not combine until smooth.
Once combined, make a hole in the center of the dough and add in the cold water. Stir to combine the dough - it will still be crumbly.
On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a rough rectangle. Don't add more water! It is supposed to be this crumbly.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it's about 10" long.
Brush the melted butter lightly across the surface of your dough. Then fold the lower third of the dough over the middle of the dough and then fold the upper third over that (we call this a "letter fold" in the printing world). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it back to the original-ish 10" size.
Repeat the previous step 4-6 times, lightly buttering each time.
When satisfied with your dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.
Baking the Puff Pastry
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or to the required temperature for the dish you're preparing.
Roll out the dough to your desired size and prepare as needed.
If preparation takes more than 10 minutes or so, put your prepared dish (pan and all) back into the fridge for 5 minutes to chill.
Transfer the cold pan into the oven and back for about 35 minutes (or until it starts to turn a golden brown). If the recipe you're preparing calls for a different cook time, follow that.