Easy Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is one of those pastries that look daunting to make and that gets people running to the store version. But! I’m going to show you an easy way to make it and hopefully encourage you to make it yourself rather than buy a pre-made version.

Tarte Tatin before and after, look at all those layersss

Puff pastry is pretty much a light, flaky buttery dough made by folding and rolling butter into the dough several times. When baked, the pastry expands several sizes depending on how many times it was folded. Puff pastry is usually used for Tarte Tatin, Turnovers, Strudel, Beef Wellington and a lot of other foods. Even croissants use a form of puff pastry.

Jam “filled” puff pastry. Notice how my design failed because the pastry puffed up.

Though you can usually find puff pastry at the grocery store, it’s definitely not the same as one made from scratch. A lot of store bought pastry doughs use lard or shortening instead of butter so they won’t always have that delicious buttery flavor. And they also tend to have a whole lot of other ingredients that you don’t need in your life. This is an easier recipe because unlike a traditional puff pastry that has a separate butter layer, the butter in this recipe is all incorporated into the dough before folding and rolling.

Brie in Puff Pastry

Just like any dough, making puff pastry requires you to get your hands a little dirty. But if you are not like me and enjoy working with doughs and getting your hands dirty then this should be fun. Either way, making this from scratch is totally worth it.

Easy Puff Pastry

  • 2 1/2 sticks cold butter (1 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour

Method

Cut your butter into little cubes and place it in the freezer so it stays cold. Put flour and salt in a bowl or a food processor and mix thoroughly.

Add about a quarter of your butter into the flour. If using a bowl, use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the butter into the flour. If using a food processor, pulse the mixture about 12 times. Do this until your butter is mostly absorbed into the flour mixture. Add your remaining butter and cut or pulse it into the flour mixture until it is combined. Add your cold water and mix or pulse it until the dough begins to come together, almost forming a ball.

Form your dough into a ball out on a floured surface. Roll your dough out into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds from the width as seen in the photo above. So grabbing the dough from the width, fold it over by a third, then fold the other side over the first folded side. Roll the dough while still maintaining its rectangular shape. Repeat this step one or two more times. Keep in mind, the more folding you do, the more puffy your dough will get.

Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour or until ready to use. When you are ready to use it, all you have to do is roll it out and use it whichever way your recipe calls for it to be used.

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