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What if I told you can make homemade, all-butter puff pastry sheets from scratch, in your own kitchen? This is the most delicious puff pastry you’ll ever taste, and it is SO EASY to make.
This process is called “lamination.” When the cold butter goes into a hot oven, steam is released, causing all those layers to separate and the pastry to puff up sky-high! Most puff pastry recipes will tell you to start by combining soft butter with a little flour, and then form that into a square that gets encased in dough.
So, I have cut back the number of steps mercilessly, as well as the overall time needed to create this homemade puff pastry. The end result is almost identical to authentic puff pastry made the fancy French way, but the prep time has been cut down to about 15 or 20 minutes.
Start by combining flour and salt in a big bowl. Pour in the water and stir everything together until the dough forms a ball.
At this point, your butter is probably starting to warm up and get soft, so it’s best to give the dough a chill. Once it’s cold and stiff, dust your work surface with flour and start laminating.
It’s as easy as rolling the dough into a rough rectangle shape, and folding it into thirds, like a letter. After that point the butter is probably starting to soften up again, so it’s probably a good idea to get it back in the fridge or freezer.
When you’re ready to bake your puff pastry, pull it out of the fridge and roll it to a thickness of about 1/8 to 1/4-inch, depending on how you’re planning to use it. If I’m making a baked brie, for example, I might go a closer to 1/4-inch, but if I’m making puff pastry cups, I might roll it a little thinner so it’s easier to tuck into the wells of the cupcake pan.
If you want to give your pastry a beautiful, golden brown sheen, brush it with an egg beaten with a couple of teaspoons of water. And the most important thing to remember: for this to work, the pastry must be COLD and the oven must be HOT.
It can be kept in the fridge (tightly wrapped) for several days or in the freezer for a few weeks. If you decide to go the frozen route, just let it thaw in the fridge until it’s pliable enough to be rolled out and cut.
Make little tarts or cut rounds and top with mushrooms, spinach, and/or onions for a savory appetizer or pizza. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, roll into a tight “C,” cut into slices and bake elephant ears, aka: palmier.
Cut into rings and fry in hot oil for the most incredible donuts! Next time you’re planning on making something with puff pastry, don’t bother with the pre-made, frozen, pre-packaged stuff.
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the cold butter into 1/4-inch slices and add to the flour mixture, tossing to coat.