Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée)

Step by step recipe:

  1. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #1
    Mix 500 g flour et 1 teaspoon fine (or table) salt, if possible add 1 teaspoon white (spirit) vinegar to prevent dough from turning grey.
  2. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #2
    In a mixer bowl, pour 500 g flour and 200 g butter cut into pieces.

    Knead on low speed for one minute, then add the water+vinegar+salt mixture.
  3. 1 hourPuff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #3
    Stop as soon as dough is smooth, this dough is called a "détrempe" (soaked or softened).

    Form it into slab, cover with plastic film, and put in the fridge for one hour.
  4. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #4
    After this time, remove dough, unwrap it, then roll it out on your work surface into a large rectangle.
  5. 1 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #5
    Measure length of rectangle, and make a small mark with your finger at the 2/3 point.
  6. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #6
    Put 200 g butter between two sheets of plastic film, and hit it with your rolling pin...
  7. Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #7
    ...until you get a butter "sheet" which is a little narrower than the dough and 2/3 the length.
  8. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #8
    Lay the butter sheet on the dough, starting at the small mark you made before.

    You should now have butter on 2/3 of the dough, 1/3 empty.
  9. Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #9
    Fold up this 1/3 on top of the butter.
  10. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #10
    Then fold over again onto the final 1/3.

    You have done "one simple turn", which means that you now have 2 butter layers inside 3 dough layers.
  11. 1 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #11
    Turn the pastry a quarter turn.
  12. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #12
    Roll out into a long regular strip.
  13. 1 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #13
    Remove any excess of flour with a Short-handled brush or a pastry brush (we do this because too much flour can hinder the layering of the pastry).
  14. 2 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #14
    Fold strip in from both ends to meet in the centre.
  15. 5 min.Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #15
    Then fold this in half.

    You have done "one double turn" or "wallet turn".
  16. 1 hourPuff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #16
    Cover pastry with plastic film and leave to rest in the fridge for one hour.

    This sequence of "double turn" + 1 hour rest, needs to be done twice more to get: 1 simple turn and 3 double turns.
  17. Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) : Photo of step #17
    Your puff pastry is now ready to use. Cut into three pieces (of about 300g) and wrap each in plastic film until use, or freeze (see below).

Remarks:

Puff pastry should not be kept in the fridge for too long (in spite of the vinegar), 2 or 3 days maximum. But it can easily be frozen, in which case don't do the final double turn and freeze at this stage. When needed, remove from freezer, leave to thaw in the fridge overnight, and do the final double turn just before use.

You wonder how-many layers there are? Here is the solution: after the first turn there are 2 butter layers between 3 dough layers, and each double turn multiplies by four. So after the first one we get 12 layers, 48 at the second, and 192 at the third.

How does it work? In the heat of the oven, the layers of pastry cook and turn brown and crisp, at the same time the butter melts (helping pastry to brown) and the water inside turns to steam. This steam in trapped in the pastry, so the entire pastry inflates to become puff pastry.

Recipes which use it: 46

Of which:
Olive twists
Olive twists
Chicken and mushroom pie
Chicken and mushroom pie
Shallot confit tart
Shallot confit tart
Puits d'amour
Puits d'amour
Langoustine and leek tarts
Langoustine and leek tarts

Source:

After Gaston Lenôtre.

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