Puff Pastry

Home-made puff pastry has a marvellous butteriness that is lacking in commercial brands. But the process is time-consuming, so it makes sense to prepare a big batch and freeze what you are not going to use straight away.

Ingredients

  • 900 g/2 lb flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 900 g/2 lb butter, chilled
  • juice of ½ lemon

Method

Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl or a mixer with a dough hook. Rub in 100 g/4 oz of the butter. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lemon juice and enough cold water to form a dough – you’ll need around 600 ml/1 pint. Leave to rest, covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Follow the diagram. Divide the remaining butter in half. Put each half of the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten each with a rolling pin into a slab about 20 cm/8 inches square. Peel off the paper, sprinkle the butter with a little flour, wrap in fresh paper and chill until the butter is firm.

Roll out the rested dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle roughly 60 × 20 cm/24 × 8 inches. Lay the two slabs of butter side by side over two-thirds of the pastry. Flip over the uncovered third on to the butter. Then fold the buttered pastry on top of the first flap. Give the pastry a quarter turn, so that the folded edges are facing you, and roll out again to a 60 × 20 cm/24 × 8 inch rectangle. Rolling puff pastry requires some practice; give the dough short, sharp rolls – avoid pushing the rolling pin along the dough as this tends to push out the butter. Fold in three and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Repeat the turning, rolling and folding twice more. The butter should no longer be visible – if the dough appears streaky, give it another roll and turn. Divide into eight slabs, wrap well and freeze until needed.