Professional Puff Pastry Made Easy

Puff pastry, when allowed to cool, can be rolled into sheets and then frozen for later
Puff pastry, when allowed to cool, can be rolled into sheets and then frozen for later | Source

Professional Puff Pastry Made Easy… Well, as easy as Puff Pastry Gets

So many bakeries in the US focus on taste that they forget the value of subtlety, of texture. Sugar is often overused to the degree that all other flavors are drowned out. This overexposure, I’ve always felt, does the art of baking a great disservice, cheapening the nuances of various pastries and the people who make them.

I am, at best, an amateur. I’ve picked up a few things here and there from my mother, who picked up a few things from her father. Lots of German cookbooks were passed down, now mostly moldering bindings and brittle paper, to which we’ve made steady alterations through years of trial and error. There’s been little occasion to bake for a long time. And it’s occurred to me it would be a shame to just let these recipes and tricks all pass into obscurity, so I would share them with anyone who might take an interest in baking.

One of the most basic and valuable recipes in a baker’s repertoire is puff pastry. It’s a staple of cakes, flans, pies, and many more exotic delicacies besides. Because it contains no sugar, it can be frozen and stored for months with no danger of going bad. However, puff pastry is extremely difficult to get right. To that end, I’ll do what I can to guide you through it, because if you can consistently make it, it’s all downhill from there.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a cooking sheet with your butter’s wrapper.
  2. Combine butter, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir on low heat. The butter must be completely melted and the mixture homogenous before continuing. Failure to do so will result in the creation of an oily mess and flour-based glue later on.
  3. Once butter is completely melted, increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the entire cup of flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. Attempting to whisk flour in slowly will cause half the flour to absorb all the fluid, over-moistening and ruining the mixture.
  5. Continue to heat the mixture for roughly sixty seconds or until the dough begins to separate from the pan, then remove from the burner.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until homogenous and then blend them with the dough. Note that you should not fold the eggs into the dough as this will introduce too much air to the finished product and cause it to become too brittle to work with. The dough should be soft, pale buttery gold in color, and too wet to hold its shape, forming long strands if held in the air on a spoon.
  7. At this point, you can either use the pastry or freeze it. It will become firmer as it cools, making it ideal to be spread on cooking sheets, molded by hand, or placed in a cake decorating bag to make cookies. Cook for 20 minutes or spoon into a plastic ziplock bag and throw in your freezer, making sure to burp the bag of all air, until the pastry is needed.

 

Making Puff Pastry Video

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Comments 4 comments

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 5 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I've never tried to make puff pastry, but it sounds fun.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

It's pretty much a general purpose shell for anything you want to put into it. It's relatively low-calorie and has no sugar, meaning it's safe for diabetics and doesn't overpower whatever filling you use.


LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 5 years ago from Plains of Colorado

I've never tried this either, though I have a recipe called Danish Kringler Bread, a part of which sounds very similar. I used to make it for Christmas breakfast for the very reason that it was special, not something we ate all the time, and had no sugar in it. Great for a day when pies and all kinds of things were to follow!


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Sounds like it. People don't reem to realize that pastry can have a flavor without sugar. It's just we're so desensitized to it, it takes a while to catch on again.

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