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puff pastry, frozen or homemade?

m
mrsgreer Sep 23, 2010 10:40 AM

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.

  1. nomadchowwoman Sep 23, 2010 11:03 AM

    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
      m
      mrsgreer Sep 23, 2010 11:24 AM

      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
        nomadchowwoman Sep 23, 2010 11:43 AM

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

    2. chowser Sep 23, 2010 11:12 AM

      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. j
        jmnewel Sep 23, 2010 11:16 AM

        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. buttertart Sep 23, 2010 11:21 AM

          If you do want to make the pastry, look at this - http://www.canadianliving.com/food/co...
          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
            nomadchowwoman Sep 23, 2010 11:48 AM

            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
              buttertart Sep 23, 2010 12:01 PM

              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
                nomadchowwoman Sep 23, 2010 12:36 PM

                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
                  buttertart Sep 23, 2010 12:41 PM

                  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. paulj Sep 23, 2010 12:40 PM

            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.

            1. chefj Sep 23, 2010 06:16 PM

              Home made or House made Puff Pastry is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much better than store bought frozen.
              It is worth the time and effort and if you make a lot you have your superior pastry ready to go in your freezer.
              The made stuff is O.K. and your guests probably won't know what they are missing anyway but if you have the time now or in the future it really is worth making. It can be a bit of a pain in the ass but if you leave yourself plenty of time and really read the directions well before hand it is not that hard.
              For wellington make a few large crepes and wrap the filet, pate and duxell in them before you wrap with the puff.It creates a bit of a barrier and the puff tends to get less soggy on the bottom

              1 Reply
              1. re: chefj
                buttertart Sep 24, 2010 01:31 PM

                That crepe trick is great to know.

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