Eric Lanyard: How to make Puff Pastry

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A puff pastry recipe from patisserie chef Eric Lanyard from his book Tart it Up!: Sweet and Savoury Tarts and Pies. Any unused dough can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Makes 1kg

Preparation time: Chill overnight, plus additional chilling time

Ingredients
400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 to 1½ teaspoons salt
90g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
210ml cold water
300g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk, beaten with l tablespoon milk, for egg-wash

Instructions

1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub the cold cubes of butter into the flour, using your fingertips. Work quickly, to keep the dough cold. It will be quite sticky. Make a well in the centre and add all the water at once. Using a rubber spatula or your fingers, gradually draw the flour into the water. Mix until all the flour is incorporated. Do not knead.

2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead ita few times, rounding it into a ball.Wrap it in clingfilm and chill overnight. The dough and softened butter must be of equal consistency. If necessary, let the dough sit at room temperature to soften, or chill the butter to harden. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a rectangle 30 x 38 cm (12 x 15 inches).

3. Using a pastry brush, remove any flour from the surface Position the block of butter in the centre of the dough and press it down a little. Fold the four edges of the dough over the butter; stretch it if necessary, as none of the butter must be exposed. With the folded sides up. P bress the dough several times with a rolling pin; use a rocking motion to create ridges all over. Put the rolling pin in each ridge and slowly roll to widen it. Repeat until all the ridges are doubled in size. Using the ridges as a starting point, roll the dough into a smooth, even rectagle 20 x 50 cm (8 x 20 inches). Keep the corners of the dough as right angles. Fold the dough in thirds lengtways, like a business letter. This completes the first turn. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the folded edge is on your left and the dough faces  you like a book. Roll out again, repeating the ridging technique. Again, the dough should be in a smooth, even rectangle of 20 x 50cm (8 x 20 inches). Fold the dough in thirds again, completing the second turn. Cover the dough with clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

4. Repeat the rotating, rolling and folding until the dough has had five turns. Do not perform more than two turns without a resting and chilling period. Cover the dough and chill overnight before shaping and baking. Remember to chill after shaping, for about 30 minutes before using.

5. To blind bake, roll out 3-4 mm (1/8 inch) thick, transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, prick all over with a form and brush with beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven, 200C (fan 180C)/400F/gas mark 6 , for 15 minutes for individual tarts and 25 minutes for large tarts, or until golden. The timing may depend on the shape and size of the pastry.

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