Puff pastry is something magical. When you succeed. When you don’t, it’s a hell, an horror, a nightmare. You will dream of butter getting out from everywhere! I tried several times to make it and I have to admit that even if I thought it was good the first time, it became even much better with some other tries.
First of all: don’t be afraid! You can make it, you just have to follow simple rules. And have time. The rules, or at least the little things I understood with my tries, I will write them down there. For the time, here is an easy trick: rent a serie on netflix and prepare yourself for a combine puff pastry-serie-marathon. The two things work perfectly together!
Ok, here we go. To make puff pastry, you will need:
- a amount of butter (take 400gr the first time, easier to try)
- the amount of butter x 1,5 of flour (which makes 500gr for this case)
- the half of the weight of the flour in water (which makes 250gr for this case)
- some salt
You begin by making a pastry of the flour and the water and the salt. Work it well, with your hands, until you got a really smooth pastry. This smooth pastry is actually the rule nr 1 that I discovered.
Then, you take your butter and you make it flat, between two slides of plastic papper, it will help you later. Then, you put the butter in the fridge, because rule nr 2 if the butter is very cold for the next step, you will have more chance to succeed. Actually, the rule nr 3, that I can’t realize, would be to work on a plate of marmor, or of stone, that stays cold even if you work on it. The temperature of the place you work in may play a role as well: the colder, the better.
Then, back to your pastry. You take a sharp knife, cut a cross on the top and separate the ball along the cross onto the half. The goal is to prepare a bed for the butter at the next step, so you have to have a nice “pillow” and 4 “sheets”, that will cover the butter. Work the “sheets” flat and long enough to cover the butter later.
When you came so far, look if your butter is cold enough and a little hard. If yes, you can go to the next step, that is: putting the butter in is little bed:
And cover it with its little “sheets” delicately. Rule nr 4: be sure that the corner of the butter are well covered. Your main problem later will be that the butter flies all off the pastry and the corners are a sensitive place.
Then, you take your instrument and you make the pastry flat. Rule nr 5: be gentle! With the warmth of your hands, it will go very quick for the butter to go through the pastry and YOU DON’T WANT IT! Take your time and make the paket longer and flatter. If some butter is about to go through the pastry, put some flour on the place and be even more gentlier.
Then, you fold the pastry in three, turn it with 90 degrees and make it flat again. Gentle!
When you come at this point, you fold your pastry in three and envelopp it in a plastic papper and put in in the fridge. Time then for you to watch 2or 3 episodes of your series. The longer, the better. It has to do with the rule nr 2: if the pastry is cold, the butter will have more difficulties to go through the pastry. You repeat the “making flat, fold in three, turn 90 degree and make flat again and fold in 3”-step once again, and then in the fridge again.
You make all this thing once again and then your pastry is ready to use, or to freeze.
If you want some videos that explain how you have to do, here you go (don’t care if they talk in french, langage of the signs is universal):