You will need to set aside a bit of time to make this, but homemade chocolate puff pastry really is something else and it is a great recipe to have in your patisserie arsenal. For successful results, it is key that the dough packet (known as a ‘détrempe’) and chocolate butter packet reach a similar consistency.
To make the détrempe (dough packet), melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave and then set aside to cool. Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the water and mix it together with a wooden spoon. Then add the vinegar (this will help to give a more tender puff pastry) and the melted butter along with the salt and stir to combine.
Knead the dough for about 2–4 minutes and shape it into a 10 x 20cm rectangle. Wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.
To make the chocolate butter ‘packet’, put the butter in a bowl and beat gently with a wooden spoon to cream it a little, then add the cocoa powder and beat everything together until it is evenly combined. Dollop this onto a piece of cling film and shape it into a 9cm square. Then wrap it up and pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes–l hour to firm up a little.
Once the détrempe has rested for 1 hour, remove it from the fridge and roll it out to a 20cm square on a lightly floured surface. Then take the chocolate butter packet and put into the centre of the détrempe square, at an angle so that a corner of the butter is facing the horizontal side of the pastry – it should look like a kind of diamond from above.
Take each corner of the pastry to just past the centre so that all the corners overlap in the centre, encasing the butter. Press down on the puff pastry using a rolling pin to gently soften the butter a little, pressing as you go to lengthen the dough. Then roll the dough to form a rectangle about three times as long as it is wide (about 20 x 60cm).
With one of the short ends facing you, fold the bottom third of the pastry over the middle third and then fold the top third of the pastry down over the middle and bottom fold, giving you a package.
Use a palette knife to make sure the package has straight edges and right angles. Then turn the dough 90° to the right and roll it out again to another 20 x 60cm rectangle, using your palette knife to make it nice and straight. Repeat the folding again – bottom third up and top third down. Now the pastry has had two rolls and folds.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and pop it into the fridge again for the gluten to relax a little and for the butter to firm up a bit, although you want it to still be pliable. If the butter does poke through when you are doing your rolls and folds and gets too soft, then put the dough back into the fridge to firm up a little.
Do this process three more times, resting the pastry in between every two rolls and folds so that at the end of the process the pastry would have had a total of eight rolls and folds.
Once the pastry has rested for the fourth time it is ready to use. However you can keep the pastry like this in the fridge wrapped in cling film for up to a week and it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks. Use as required.
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.