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Puff Pastry
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Cut a deep cross in the dough.
Spread the dough apart.
Roll the dough out.
Place the butter block in the center of the pastry.
Wrap the folds around the butter.
Roll the dough out to begin the "turns".
You can keep track of your "turns" by placing finger marks in the corner of the dough block.

Puff Pastry

Makes approximately 2-1/2 pounds

This is an extremely versatile pastry. I recommend preparing a large amount at one time and cutting it into desired quantities and shapes for freezing. (It freezes very successfully. Remove it from the freezer and place in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it.) Cut into squares, called feuilletées, it can also be used to make many different desserts — with various fruits, ice cream and sweet sauces.

Ingredients

Pastry base:

  • 1-3/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups ice water

Butter block:

  • 14 ounces unsalted butter, chilled (3-1/2 sticks OR 28 tablespoons). It helps to keep the butter in sticks for making the block.
Method
  1. To make the pastry base: In a food processor fitted with steel blade, combine pastry flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Add butter pieces and with a few on/off turns process until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. With machine running, pour just enough iced water through the feed tube to make a stiff but pliable dough. (This amount of water can vary quite a lot, so start out with 1 cup and add up to the extra 1/4 cup.) Turn dough out on to a very lightly floured board. Shape into a flattened ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Prepare the butter block: Arrange the sticks of butter into as much of a square as possible. Wrap in a clean cotton kitchen towel or napkin to absorb excess moisture. With a heavy rolling pin, pound the butter to form a 6-inch square about 1-inch thick. Even out the sides as necessary with the rolling pin. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove the pastry base and the butter block from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using. Both should be at the same temperature and consistency before rolling.
  5. Lightly flour the pastry board and rolling pin. Roll out the pastry base to an 18-inch square. Remove the butter from the towel and set in the middle of the pastry base. Fold 2 opposite sides over to meet in the center of the butter. If the overlapping ends are too thick, level them off by lightly moving the rolling pin over the ends. Even the 2 remaining opposite ends and fold to meet in the center, stretching as necessary until the seams come together.
  6. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle about 18 x 12-inches. Starting with the 12-inch side, fold the dough into thirds. Turn the dough so that the seam is on your right and again roll out to the same size rectangle, sprinkling the pastry board and dough very lightly with flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. Using a large dry pastry brush, brush away excess flour before and after folding. Using the rolling pin, even out the pastry as it is being rolled. Press two indentations in the dough with your knuckles, to remind you of the number of turns you have made and wrap dough securely in plastic wrap. (You have just completed 2 turns.) Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and let soften slightly before rolling. With the seam on your right, again complete 2 turns. Press 4 indentations in the dough. Re-wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Again, let the dough soften slightly and roll one more time to complete 5 turns. At this point the pastry can be cut, wrapped and frozen for future use. When cutting, cut the dough lengthways. When ready to use the pastry, remove from the freezer and refrigerate overnight. Use as needed.
Presentation

This pastry wonderful for desserts, including Spago's Individual Apple Pies, Wolfgang's Classic Apple Tart and Raspberries in Puff Pastry. You can also use it for Fillet of Beef in Puff Pastry with Sauce Béarnaise.
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