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Puff Pastry Dough

Puff pastry is not complicated to make; it just cannot be rushed. If at any point in the rolling process the dough becomes too soft or elastic, return it to refrigerator to rest for at least thirty minutes. The dough can be made in advance through the fourth turn and then stored overnight in the refrigerator or for up to one month in the freezer before continuing. You can also freeze the finished dough for several months before using.

  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 pounds

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2002

Ingredients

For the dough package

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, well chilled
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water

For the butter package

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, well chilled

Directions

  1. Make the dough package: In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours with the salt. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture; using your fingers or a pastry cutter, incorporate butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

  2. Form a well in center of mixture, and pour the water into well. Using your hands, gradually draw flour mixture over the water, covering and gathering until mixture is well blended and begins to come together. Gently knead mixture in the bowl just until it comes together to form a dough, about 15 seconds. Pat dough into a rough ball, and turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly, and place in refrigerator to chill 1 hour.

  3. Make the butter package: Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon flour on a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Place uncut sticks of butter on top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon flour. Top with another sheet of paper; using a rolling pin, pound butter to soften and flatten to about 1/2 inch. Remove top sheet of paper, and fold butter package in half onto itself. Replace top sheet of paper, and pound again until butter is about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat process two or three times, or until butter becomes quite pliable. Using your hands, shape butter package into a 6-inch square. Wrap well in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until it is chilled but not hardened, no more than 10 minutes.

  4. Assemble and roll the dough: Remove dough package from refrigerator, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll dough into a 9-inch round. Remove butter package from refrigerator, and place it in the center of the dough round. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score the dough to outline the butter square; remove butter, and set it aside. Starting from each side of the center square, gently roll out dough with the rolling pin, forming four flaps, each 4 to 5 inches long; do not touch the raised square in the center of the dough. Replace butter package on the center square. Fold flaps of dough over the butter package so that it is completely enclosed. Press with your hands to seal.

  5. Using the rolling pin, press down on the dough at regular intervals, repeating and covering the entire surface area, until it is about 1 inch thick. Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 9 by 20 inches, with one of the short sides closest to you. Be careful not to press too hard around the edges, and keep the corners even as you roll out the dough by squaring them with the side of the rolling pin or your hands. Brush off any excess flour. Starting at the near end, fold the rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter; this completes the first single turn. Wrap in plastic wrap; place in refrigerator 45 to 60 minutes.

  6. Remove dough from refrigerator, and repeat process in step 5, giving it five more single turns. Always start with the flap opening on the right as if it were a book. Mark the dough with your knuckle each time you complete a turn to help you keep track. Chill 1 hour between each turn. After the sixth and final turn, wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before using.

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