Thursday, March 17, 2011

Puff Away!!

When I started on the quest of making puff pastry I pretty much met an internet stonewall, with grim waggling fingers and heads shaking with pity and reprimand. Dont make it they said, just buy it. You wont be able to do it. ITS NOT EASY.

Well for one, I cant just go to a store and buy puff pastry shells, because we dont get them here. And I love it when someone says it can't be done, it revvs me up, and there is nothing better than looking the challenge in its eye and saying HA! and accompanying it with a small jig...

So I started out by trying to find the proportions....

I finally used these for the dough:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of lemon juice in 1/2 - 1 cup water
1 tsp butter

Add the butter to the flour and make a soft but not sticky dough, add water as necessary.
Make sure that the dough comes together in a soft springy ball.

I used approx 250-300 gms butter to fold. (for the first time you might use lesser better to make it easier to work with it. The pastry will not be as crumbly, but will be easier to work with)

Now you will get instructional videos of how to fold on the internet. But no amount of videos is going to prepare you for the butter oozing at every turn(A turn is a 90 degree shift in the pastry)

So there are some basic guidelines that I feel can help
1. Make sure the butter's softness is same as that of the dough. If the butter is harder, the dough will tear, if softer, you'll be left with a butter that oozes out and makes a mess
2. Freeze for 15 minutes after every turn
3. Roll north to south only
4. Since butter hardens up faster during refrigeration, before starting to roll, make the butter inside the dough pliable by slightly beating the dough with the rolling pin.
5. Work really fast, don't allow the butter to melt, try to keep all your surfaces cold and away from any heat.

Making a puff pastry can be harrowing for the first time, I almost panicked the first time my butter starting showing through the dough, but you get adept by the 6th turn or so, and don't be afraid of a little patchwork here and there ;)

I made this more than a month ago, and had refrigerated it. It stays quite well frozen. I dont have the pictures of me making it(trust me I had other things on my mind then), but I managed to take a few pics yesterday, after baking the pastry.(I know, my cell photos suck.....but then I'm no photographer )

Look at 'em rise!!!

I just ate them with apricot preserve, but you can do a lot of things with it, make a filling, cover it with sugar or butter cream, make cheese savouries.....the possibilities are endless.

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