"Blitz" - (Quick Method) Homemade Puff Pastry
I learned how to make homemade puff pastry dough, during Laminated Doughs week, while in culinary school; and I found it to be fun, but a very time consuming process due to all of the rolling & folding steps that are required.
This particular recipe is the quick method that doesn't require all of the extensive rolling & folding used for true puff pastry; and although it will be less delicate and flaky than true puff pastry, it is perfectly acceptable for some uses. I've only made this recipe once, just to see how it would turn out, and I didn't think about taking step-by-step photos to help illustrate the recipe process (Sorry!).
*The couple of pictures that I have included with this right now are ones that I got from my school Baking & Pastry book.
unbleached all-purpose flour
unsalted butter (not margarine)
Place the all purpose flour in a 2 qt. mixing bowl and sift the cake flour over it. Thoroughly combine the flours either by stirring with a spoon or whisking.
Slice 1 ounce of the butter into thin pieces and add it to the bowl. Rub in the butter by hand, squeezing and tossing in the butter until no visible pieces remain.
Cut the remaining butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture and toss with a rubber spatula just enough to separate and distribute the butter. DO NOT RUB THIS BUTTER INTO THE FLOUR (you want these butter cubes visible).
Dissolve the salt in the water. Make a well in the flour & butter mixture and add the water. Using a rubber spatula or your fingers gently draw the flour into the water until all flour is incorporated and the dough is evenly moistened. If needed, add drops of additional water to make sure it is completely moistened. Press and squeeze the dough in the bowl to form a rough ball shape.
To turn the dough, first lightly flour the table or surface that you will be working on as well as the dough. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and using the palm of your hand, press down on the dough 3 or 4 times to shape it into a rough rectangle.
Press and pound the dough with a rolling pin to form an even rectangle that's about 1/2 inch thick. Roll the dough back and forth along its length once or twice until it is an even rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. At this stage, I found that pieces of the butter started to stick to the work surface. If the dough does start to stick, loosen it with a long spatula or dough scraper. Then clean off the surface to minimize any further sticking.
You should now have an even rectangle. Fold both ends of the dough in towards the center, then fold them in toward the center again to make 4 layers. This is called the double book fold. Position the dough so that the "spine" is on the left.
Lightly flour the work surface and the dough and repeat the pressing as before (Step 6). Roll the dough along its length as before, then roll it several times along its width to form a rectangle, approximately 6" x 18". Fold the dough into the double book fold just like before (Step 7). Repeat this whole process once more so that the dough ends up having 3 double turns.
Wrap the dough well in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour before using.
* This dough may be refrigerated for about 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight before using it.
NOTE: It's not necessary to work with the entire block of dough when you begin to make pastries out of it. Cut the block into thirds or quarters and work with one portion at a time, while keeping the rest chilled until you're ready to use it.
HERE'S A PICTURE OF A FEW OF THE DESSERT PASTRIES THAT I'VE MADE USING PUFF PASTRY. Clockwise from the top:
1) Pinwheel (with raspberry jam center)
2) Vol-au-vent (round shaped filled with pastry cream & fresh sliced strawberries)
3) Butterfly (with cinnamon sugar)
4) Feuilletee (diamond shaped filled with pastry cream)