Puff pastry

For the ultimate buttery flavour, use home-made puff pastry.   Whatever people tell you –it really does taste better than shop-bought pastry.   Only make it when you have plenty of time.   The actual pastry itself doesn’t take long to make, but it needs to be rested regularly in between rollings.   The chilling times are the minimum period of time you should leave the dough, but you can leave it several hours if wished.   It freezes well.

Makes 225g pastry (flour weight)

225g plain flour

a pinch of salt

225g unsalted butter


Mix together the flour and salt in a food processor.   Add 30g diced cold butter and whiz until it forms fine crumbs.   Tip into a bowl and mix in about 125ml cold water or enough to form a rough dough.   Lightly knead into   a ball and wrap in a polythene bag.   Chill for 30 minutes.


Fifteen minutes before you are ready to roll, take the butter out and allow to soften slightly.   Place the butter between 2 sheets of clingfilm and using a rolling pin, flatten into a 2.5cm thick rectangle. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle that is 3 times the length of the butter and about 2.5cm wider than the width of the butter.   Place the butter in the centre of the dough and then fold over each dough flap, so that the butter is completely covered.   Using the rolling pin, lightly press down on each edge so that the butter is sealed in.   Give the dough a half-turn clockwise.


Using short sharp strokes, roll out the dough so that it returns to its previous length (3 times that of the butter) but retains the same thickness. Then fold over the 2 ends as though they were covering the butter, press the edges with the rolling pin and give a further half-turn clockwise. If the butter is breaking through the pastry or the pastry is becoming warm, stop, wrap and refrigerate for a further 30 minutes.   If not, you can repeat the rolling process one more time before resting the dough.   Make a note of which way the dough is facing before chilling, as you will need to continue with the clockwise half-turns.


After resting the pastry replace on the floured surface in the position that you left off and continue with a further 2 rolls and half-turns.   Refrigerate for another 30 minutes and then continue to with 2 more rolls and half-turns.   Wrap and refrigerate until needed or cut in half and freeze.


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