Making puff pastry

I truly love flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around something delicious.  However, I have an allergy to any kind of hydrogenated vegetable oil like shortening or margarine.  That eliminates most store-bought desserts. As it happens I’m not adverse to

For years I trusted Pepperidge Farms puff pastry sheets.  Their ingredients are pretty straight forward.  Then came a holiday season when I went to the store too late both of my local grocery stores were out.  What I did have on hand was plenty of butter and plenty of flour.
Lightbulb!

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 cups  ice water
1 pound or 4 sticks of unsalted butter (I’m told European Butter works best.)

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of table salt or sugar.  I prefer to go without.

Making the dough is relatively easy if you have a food processor.  With an S blade attachment, blend the flours together and slowly pour in the ice water.  Add in either salt or sugar depending on your personal preference.  Let the processor blend until a ball forms.  Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before using.

  1. When you feel ready to make the pastry sheet, unwrap 4 sticks of butter and press together to form a block.  I prefer to work with room temperature butter wrapped in plastic wrap to keep its shape.
  2. Roll the dough into a square shape with the middle part a bit thicker than the edges.  Unwrap butter and place in the middle.  Fold the edges of the dough over the butter so no butter is showing. 
  3. Roll the butter pouch into a rectangular shape.  Fold over and roll again.  
  4. At this point, I’ll put the dough back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up the butter a bit.  Then roll and fold over again twice more.
  5. Divide the dough, wrap it separately.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze to keep longer.

Now you have pastry dough and the possibilities are endless!

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