Making puff pastry takes a certain amount of skill and practice. For the best results, weigh the ingredients accurately. Be sure to allow the pastry enough time to rest and chill between rollings. If you want a less rich pastry, you can substitute water for all or half of the heavy cream.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a food processor or using the flat paddle on an electric mixer, mix 1/2 cup flour with the butter until very smooth. Shape into a flat square 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

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  • In a large mixing bowl, combine salt with the remaining flour and add the cream. Mix dough well by hand or with an electric mixer; the dough will not be completely smooth, but it should not be sticky. Shape it into a flat square 1 1/2 inches thick, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 15 minutes in the freezer.

  • Remove flour dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a rectangle twice as long as the butter dough. Place butter dough in the center, fold up ends to encase it completely, and seal edges by pinching together. Wrap well in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes so that dough achieves the same temperature throughout.

  • Remove dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured board, roll it out into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Fold into thirds, aligning edges carefully and brushing off excess flour. The object is to ensure that the butter is evenly distributed so that the pastry will puff evenly when baked. Wrap dough and chill for at least 30 minutes. This completes 1 turn.

  • Repeat this process 5 more times; classic puff pastry gets 6 turns, creating hundreds of layers of butter between layers of the flour dough (729, to be exact). Use as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough, and always brush off any excess. Remember to let the dough rest and chill between turns. This chilling makes the rolling out much easier and keeps the layers of butter of equal thickness.

  • By the sixth and final turn, the dough should be very smooth, with no lumps of butter visible. Wrap the pastry in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 2 days), or freeze for future use. (It's convenient to divide the dough into 1-pound pieces and freeze it that way.)

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