Puff Pastry is a universally travelled concept.It is seen in all countries and its habitual that when you make anything from well risen Puff Pastry you are not going to leave it at one helping.Some of the snacks made with Puff Pastry include:
- Mille Feuille
- Tart Tatin
- Pies as in the British Steak and Kidney Pie and last but not the least
- Khari – The Indian use of Puff Pastry to make delicious biscuits.
There are many other delicious uses of the lovely and versatile pastry but here we see how to make the basic version and how to store it effectively.Once you make the pastry and store it in the freezer,it can be taken out anytime,thawed and made into versatile recipes.
Making the recipe is a bit tedious and you have to make it when you have a complete day off or else it would not come out perfect!So keep these things in mind:
1.Make the pastry on a day on which you are totally free from any commitments.
2.Do not attempt it if you feel weak,tired or unwell.
3.Keep a clock near you or set the alarm at precise 20 minutes if you feel you might doze off.
4.Have a clean work surface ready and keep extra flour at hand.
5.Measure everything precisely for a neat job.
6.My friends who live in tropical countries need to keep the butter for softening at least 15 minutes before rolling out the pastry while those in cold countries may need to keep it out at least 2 hours before rolling it out!
7.Use clean and non greasy hands and clean utensils.
8.In case the butter oozes out of the pastry while rolling,add some flour on it and continue the process.Its fine for amateurs to have some butter squeeze out of the dough!It will be perfected with time!
9.Refrigerate water for kneading the dough for at least 30 minutes before preparation.
10.Keep sheets of Parchment/Butter Paper and clingfilm at hand before rolling out the pastry for the last time.
If you cannot manage then hop out to the nearest departmental store and buy some for yourself..:)…but let me assure you despite the hard work there is nothing more satisfying than making a lovely batch of Puff Pastry,making a tasty snack and enjoying it with a cup of hot tea!
Preparation Time : 5-6 hours
Makes : 3 sheets of 200 gms each
600 gms + 150 gms plain flour(maida)
The 600 gms for making the pastry while the extra 150 gms is for flouring the work surface,the rolling pin and as a backup in case the flour sticks or the butter oozes out of the pastry!
500 gms brick of Butter(store-bought preferred)
1 tsp salt
Cold water as required
Soften butter by placing it out of the refrigerator.The time for softening depends on the climate and area you live in so do likewise.If the temperature is very cold then it can be kept on a plate over a heat source say a hot oven.But remember 2 things:
- The butter should not melt to a liquid texture.
- It should not be too hard that you find it difficult to roll out.
It should be soft enough to lose its shape when you press it with your hands.In hot climates it may need to be refrigerated again if it melts quickly.
Cut out approximately 50 gms of butter from the brick.Mash it with the back of a spoon till it attains a paste like consistency.
Sieve flour with salt and add the butter paste.Mix well with your fingertips till the flour is like breadcrumbs.Now add the cold water 2 tbsp at a time and mix to form a soft dough.Now knead it for nearly 10 – 15 minutes till it no longer sticks to your fingers and is satin soft and elastic.Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Press the butter brick with your palms very carefully so that it is pressed into a flat rectangle.If it is melting then refrigerate for 5 – 7 minutes.
THE FIRST ROLLING
Flour a clean work surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle almost 3 times the size of the flattened butter rectangle.Now place the butter in between the dough rectangle and first fold the two big sides on your left and right and then on the top and bottom so that the butter is covered like an envelope between the dough.
Applying very less pressure,press on the dough with your palms to flatten it out a bit and roll with the rolling pin to form a big rectangle.Fold the 2 big sides again and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
This is one course of rolling.
THE SECOND AND CONSECUTIVE ROLLINGS
After 20 minutes of refrigeration take out the pastry and re roll it the same way you did the first rolling.Refrigerate again for 20 minutes.
There is a repetition of 6 times for this procedure.You can roll as many times you want and remember the more you roll the more layers will form and the better the pastry would turn out.
AFTER THE ROLLING PROCEDURE
After the last rolling course,refrigerate for 20 minutes for the last time and take it out.Roll it into a rectangle and with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife,cut it into 3 equal parts.
Roll out each of the 3 parts into rectangular sheets.
Keep clingfilm and Parchment/Butter Paper ready.Unroll the clingfilm on a table or work surface and keep a sheet of Parchment paper on it.Keep a Puff Pastry sheet on the paper and place another pastry sheet on it.repeat with another layer of paper and the last pastry sheet on top.Keep a final sheet of paper on it and cover with clingfilm.Seal the ends of the clingfilm and stash the pastry in the freezer till required.
If you need to use the pastry immediately then refrigerate for 30 minutes before using it.Make and enjoy various snacks and pies and feed yourself spoilt..:)
Texture of the frozen dough….