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Nov 29, 2012 06:12 PM

Homemade puff pastry

I am not able to buy frozen puff pastry made with butter and have made it myself a few times with so so results. Just saw a quick version recipe from Nick Malgieri's cookbook and wondering if anyone has tried it, or if anyone has a recipe/technique they want to share?

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  1. I haven't tried this yet, but it's been on my list for a while The recipe link is at the bottom.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LisaPA

      I saw that one as well. I'm intrigued. It's for beef wellington, so thinking maybe the quick version would work.

    2. Read as many recipes as you can find, hopefully with pictures.

      Don't overwork the dough.

      Use a scale for your flour.

      Chill thoroughly before using the final product.

      The quick versions are not the same as the real thing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sandylc

        Can you tell me what the biggest difference in the traditional and quick versions is? I wasn't thrilled with my past tries with the traditional kind--I'm not really good at being very precise even when I make the extra effort. I also think flour here is heavier than in the US, if that makes sense, and I wonder if I'm losing out on any of the potential differences anyway.

        1. re: Transplant_DK

          Essentially, the classic version results in large layers of dough alternating with large layers of butter, creating clearly delineated layers that puff apart upon baking.

          The quick or rough paste incorporates the butter in smaller pieces, much like pie pastry (although in rough puff paste the pieces of butter are larger), so that you will have smaller layered bits of dough and butter. These layered areas will do their puffing thing in a more random way and will thus not puff the entire piece of pastry as dramatically as the classic verson.

          Think of it as the classic one being in layers and the quick one as very flaky.

          1. re: sandylc

            Thanks for the explanation. I would really have no problem making the real deal, but I just don't think mine has come out so well in the past and I thought I might have a better chance of a good result with the quickie method since it involves far less finesse.

            I guess I can see if I can improve my method with the classic one, although very flaky sounds quite nice!

        2. re: sandylc

          I learned a long time ago from the step-by-step in Julia Child. I think following her slavishly a few times leads to emancipation, not only when it comes to puff pastry.

        3. I haven't used the NM recipe, but this Chez Panisse quick puff works very well.

          1. I think classic puff pastry is quite easy, if you really take your time. Let it rest at least an hour between folding and rolling. I also use a little vinegar (or lemon juice) in the water.

            1. I've had luck with a number of puff pastry recipes. As others have said, just don't overwork the dough and make sure you keep it chilled. If you're working with it and the butter starts to feel soft, stop right away and put it back in the fridge a little while longer.

              I haven't tried this one yet but was thinking about it:

              8 Replies
              1. re: Skippy1414

                Thanks, I see this one suggests using cornstarch with AP flour--maybe I need to do that to lighten up the flour I get here.

                1. re: Transplant_DK

                  Do you have cake or pastry flour to lighten your flour with?

                  1. re: sandylc

                    No. At one time it was possible to buy "cookie" flour that had a lower gluten content, but it's no longer being made since there was no demand. I was probably the only one buying it. I'm not sure what bakeries here do to make pastries, but I suspect that it's my organic flour that is heavier and they are using one that is more refined.

                        1. re: Transplant_DK

                          I was going to say that you could order different types of flours from a site like King Arthur Flour, but I guess the shipping charges would make it ridiculous.

                          You know, if you need cake flour and you can't find it, you can always make a passable substitute. For one cup of cake flour: measure one 1 cup AP flour, remove 2 Tbsp of that flour, and then mix in 2 Tbsp of corn starch.

                          As noted with the puff pastry recipe I posted above, the corn starch helps to cut back on gluten toughness. It's not perfect, but it's better than just using straight up all purpose flour in a recipe that calls for cake flour, or worse, avoiding every recipe that has cake flour in it.

                          1. re: Skippy1414

                            Thanks, that is what I will do. I've been researching flours a bit more and found that only the commercial ones are bleached, so I think that must be how the bakeries can make cakes and pastries while my flour is so much heavier. I can buy Italian (00) flour, and all sorts of really good stone ground, full corn types, but delicate flours are apparently not in demand here.