Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 24 Makes 2 1/2 lb. pastry.
Dishes made with puff pastry look very grand, but preparing the pastry appears far more difficult than it actually is. The pastry can also be purchased. For the best quality, buy from a good cake shop that uses butter, not margarine. If only a portion of the pasty is used, the remainder may be frozen as described below.


  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room
     temperature, plus 4 sticks cold
      unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the flour, salt and room-temperature butter. Beating slowly at first and then increasing the speed to medium, beat the ingredients, slowly adding the water in a thin stream at the same time, until the ingredients are mixed together into a firm dough and form a ball. (Alternatively, place the flour on a work surface, make a well in the center, and add the salt, room-temperature butter and water. Using your fingers, combine the ingredients and form the dough into a ball.) Transfer the dough to a work surface, reshape into a ball with the heels of your hands, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, beat the cold butter between sheets of parchment paper into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough into a round about 11 inches in diameter. Remove the paper from the rectangle of butter, place the butter in the center of the dough round, and fold the edges of the dough over the butter to enclose completely. Tap the dough with the rolling pin to ensure that it adheres to the butter.

Using the rolling pin and flouring the work surface and pin often but lightly, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 20 inches long by 7 inches wide. Take care to apply pressure evenly and not to squeeze the butter from the dough. Keep the ends as square as possible. Fold the pastry into thirds by folding it toward you and then back over itself.

Firmly gripping the folded rectangle, rotate it 90 degrees so that the seam is on your left. Roll out the dough into a rectangle of the same size and again fold it into thirds. You have now completed 2 "turns." Dust the dough with flour and cover with plastic wrap or with parchment paper and a kitchen towel, tucking the ends in well so that they do not dehydrate. Let rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and repeat the rolling and folding to complete 2 more turns. Again, wrap the dough and return to the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour. Repeat the process one more time, again completing 2 turns.

Once you have completed 6 turns, the pastry dough is ready to use. It may be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator, well wrapped, for up to 3 days. The pastry may be frozen; ideally, for best results, it should be frozen after 4 turns, and the final 2 turns completed after thawing. To freeze the pastry, wrap airtight in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Transfer to the refrigerator for 1 day to thaw, then remove and bring to room temperature before rolling.
Makes 2 1/2 lb. pastry.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Provence, by Diane Holuigue (Time-Life Books, 2002).
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