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Puff Pastry

message posted 04-Mar-08 09:35:27
425 ml (1 3/4 cups) flour

30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) superfine sugar (optional)

125 ml ( 1/2 cup) water

165 ml (11 tbsp) butter

Pinch salt

Pour flour into a bowl and make a well in middle. Add sugar, if desired, along with 125 ml ( 1/2 cup) water and pinch of salt. Start mixing flour into liquid using a wooden spoon, then use hands, pulling flour in from the edges and working as quickly as possible.

Form dough into a ball and weigh it. Let dough stand for 20 minutes in the bowl, covered with a cloth.

Flour work surface and roll dough into a rectangle slightly thicker in its centre.

Weigh out exactly half the weight of butter as there is dough and mould it into a square. Put butter diagonally in the middle of the dough; fold in the 4 corners to cover and seal edges.

Roll pastry into a rectangle about 1 cm ( 1/2 inch) thick and 3 times as long as it is wide.

Fold rectangle into 3, folding first third inwards, then fold the other third over top of that. Give the pastry one quarter-turn to the right. Roll it out into a rectangle and fold it again as above, then let it stand in a cool place for 20 minutes.

Classic puff pastry should be given a total of 6 "turns," i.e., 3 sets of 2 turns, with a standing period every 2 turns. If preparing in advance, give it the final 2 turns just before using.

Puff pastry baked blind (without a filling) needs 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 250 C (475 F). If the pastry case is filled, the oven should be cooler, 240 C (465 F) and the baking will take 30 to 35 minutes.

Note: The butter used should be of the same consistency as the dough. Flatten the butter between 2 sheets of parchment or greaseproof paper, then place it in the centre of the dough.

This Quick Puff Pastry is from pastry chef Nick Malgieri of New York.

300 ml (1 1/4 cups) butter

125 ml ( 1/2 cup) cold water

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour

Cut butter into 1-cm ( 1/2-inch) cubes and refrigerate. Combine cold water with salt and refrigerate. Place flour in food processor. Add 50 ml ( 1/4 cup) of the diced butter and pulse 12 times. Add remaining diced butter and pulse twice just to distribute into flour. Drizzle salted water over flour. Pulse 5 or 6 times. Turn mixture out and gather into a rough rectangle.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a 45-by 30-cm (18-by 12-inch) rectangle. Fold into thirds lengthwise. Roll up from short end and press into a rough square. Wrap well and refrigerate for a few days or freeze.

Makes about 750 g (1 1/2 lb) or enough for two tarts or pizzas

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