There’s nothing quite like a good puff pastry—buttery, flaky, crisp, and it goes wonderfully with a number of sweet and savory recipes. A lot of people will buy theirs from the store, but what if you could actually make your own…?
Puff pastry has just four basic ingredients: flour, salt, butter, and water. It’s a simple list that all comes together through a laminating process. That’s when you roll the dough out, fold it, and repeat a few times. When you do that, the butter weaves into every layer of the dough. Once it hits the hot oven, it makes the dough puff up into a flaky, golden brown delight.
Like the Peppermint Chocolate Scones, you need to keep the dough cold up until you put it in the oven. Butter is made up of roughly 18% water; when it heats up quickly, the resulting steam is what gives the dough its lift and beautiful layers.
When it comes to baking, check on on the recipe you’re using it for. Chicken pot pie might be a little different from brie en croute or strudel, for example. In general, though, I would recommend baking it in a 400F oven for 20-25 minutes.
As far as applications, the possibilities are endless! For the above picture, I sliced the pastry dough into thin strips and coiled the pieces before baking, then I glazed them with a thin layer of cardamom simple syrup after it came out of the oven. You could also bake them in rectangles and layer them with fruit and whipped cream for a Napoleon, or use this as the pastry layer for an old-school Beef Wellington. I’ve even heard of some people cutting the dough into rounds, cutting a hole in the center, then deep frying the rounds like doughnuts.
However you decide to use Homemade Puff Pastry, it’s bound to be a treat!
Homemade Puff Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup cold water
Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. Toss the butter in the flour mixture, then add in the cold water until a thick dough forms. Shape into a thick disk, then refrigerate for about an hour.
Dust a work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Remove dough from the fridge, then roll into a rectangle shape. Fold into thirds, then roll into another rectangle. Repeat this process about 6-7 times, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours.
To bake, preheat the oven to 400F. Cut and arrange the dough into the desired shape, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is a deep golden brown.
Makes about 8 servings.