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Sep 23, 2010 10:40 AM

puff pastry, frozen or homemade?

I'd like opinions on using frozen vs. homemade puff pastry for Beef wellington.
Does it matter in this recipe?
I am a good pastry maker, but will homemade be noticably different baked around beef? Its for a dinner party...just wondering if the shortcut will be acceptable. I have a lot to do.

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  1. Well, I would go w/the frozen--particularly since homemade is pretty time-consuming and as you said, you have a lot to do. Unless you are entertaining chefs or professional food critics, the guests probably won't be able to tell the difference in a dish where the pastry is not the star. I use Pepperidge Farm for a lot of things, with good results, but there are some other (more expensive) brands that are better.

    I've only made puff pastry 4X, each time with my friend who trained as a prof. baker. It turned out fabulous, and, yes, I could tell the difference, but each time, we spent the better part of a day doing it, and we were turning out sweet rolls and other treats in which the pastry was star.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nomadchowwoman

      Good advice from nomad and chowser, thanks. Sadly, no Trader Joes here. just Shoprite or Hannaford, I believe they have Athena?? or athens?
      I will look for Dufour.

      1. re: mrsgreer

        Dufour is the one I was trying to think of, but couldn't remember. It's high quality, but also high-priced.

    2. If you have a lot to do and have never made puff pastry before, I'd buy but not a generic grocery store one. It takes time to roll it out properly and if you do it wrong, you'll end up w/ tough pastry. If you have a Trader Joe's, they have a seasonal puff pastry that is back in stock. The ingredients are only butter, flour, sugar, salt. It's slightly on the sweet side for beef wellington but still good. If you want top quality, look for Dufour but be ready to pay a lot more for it.

      1. If you go the frozen route, and I recommend it if you are short on time, be sure to buy Dufour brand. It is pricier than Trader Joe's brand, but it is much, much better.

        1. If you do want to make the pastry, look at this -
          It's very simple and quick and makes excellent puff pastry - and you know what went into it.
          Make it a day or more ahead and all you have to do is roll it out and use.
          This recipe will change your life! ;-)

          4 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            This looks do-able, even for me (but so does pie crust dough, which I can't seem to master). What kinds of things have you used this pastry for, BT?

            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              A Gateau St-Honoré (the base) and a leek tart, and palmiers with the scraps. It's actually a lot of fun. I'll neer buy puff pastry again. (I'm not that great at pie pastry either, but this made a very nice tart crust.)

              1. re: buttertart

                OK, I remember seeing discussion of your leek tart (was that from the Malgieri?). That I can manage. The Gateau St-Honore [cannot figure out how to do marks] is, I know, way beyond my skills.

                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  I thought it was beyond mine too, but all you do is make a pastry base and cream puffs, glue the suckers together with caramel, and fill it with pastry cream.
                  Leek tart is from A Baker's Tour (I used his Perfect pastry for the gateau with some input from the Canadian Living 2008 baking book).

          2. When you say you are a good pastry maker, does that mean you have made puff pastry from scratch, or just have a lot of experience making pies? I'd guess that 90% of us who know what puff pastry is, have only used the frozen stuff. I know all about combining the slabs of dough and butter into a thousand interleaved layers, but have never attempted it myself.

            But maybe you are really asking whether one of the short-cut homemade pastries doughs would work just as well as the frozen. In the frozen world there are two kinds - a reasonably priced Pepridge Farm using a high melting point margarine, and much more expensive all butter brands.