easy puff pastry
homemade puff pastry is so easy, you’ll never reach for the box again
Puff pastry is so versatile. It is great for making cookies. Turnovers are one of my all time favorite desserts, and puff pastry is even a terrific base for pizza toppings. There really isn’t anything that puff pastry cannot make incredibly delicious.
Homemade puff pastry is something I have wanted to try making, but it seems a bit intimidating don’t you think? and while some recipes are much more time and step intensive, this easy puff pastry recipe is exactly that. You only need 3 ingredients; flour, salt, and butter plus ice water. For me the butter is really the star, so you will want to use the best quality butter you can get your hands on.
Similar to croissant making, the flaky layers form when butter is wrapped in layers of dough. To simplify the process, this recipe includes pea sized bits of butter incorporated in the dough, and then rolled and folded over small slices of butter. The more folds, the more flaky layers.
You don’t need any fancy equipment either. The butter is cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or your fingers ( I love to do it by hand). Then, a few tablespoons of ice water are mixed in using a fork. Be careful not to over mix or you will have very tough puff pastry. Take a handful of dough and give it a squeeze. If it hold it’s shape the dough is ready to go. If it still seems too dry, add another 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of water.
Roll the dough into a ball, and then on a piece of parchment paper press the dough into a rough square. Wrap and chill dough for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, flour your rolling surface, and roll dough into a large rectangle (about 13 x 11). Scatter the remaining butter evenly over the rectangle. Starting from the short end, fold the top 1/3 down over the center, and then fold the bottom 1/3 over (like you are folding a letter). Make 1/4 turn to the right (so the short side is facing you again) , and then roll into a large rectangle. Fold the top 1/3 down, and the bottom 1/3 up. Repeat 2 more times for a total of 4 turns. Brush off the excess flour, and then wrap the puff pasty dough in plastic.
After rolling, the puff pastry needs to rest and chill. While you are rolling the dough, if you find the butter getting too soft and popping through the dough, stop, wrap in plastic, and chill for a bit before continuing to roll. I usually let my pastry sit overnight, but it can used after 3 hours in the fridge.
easy puff pastry
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 ounces butter (divided)
- ice water 4-6 Tbsp
- in a large bowl combine the flour and salt
- cut 12 tablespoons of the butter into small pieces, and then blend into the flour using either a pastry cutter or your fingertips, you should have what resembles a coarse meal with pea size bits of butter throughout
- drop 4 tablespoons of water over the dough, and blend using a fork (do not over work the dough)
- squeeze a small clump of dough, if it holds its shape, your dough is ready, if it is crumbly, add 1/2 - 1Tbsp more water
- roll dough into a ball, and then press into a square
- wrap dough in plastic and chill 30 minutes
- on a well floured surface roll the chilled dough into a large rectangle about 13 x 11 inches
- slice the remaining 4 Tbsp butter into very thin slices, and scatter evenly over the dough
- beginning with the sort end, fold dough in thirds ( as you would fold a letter) top 1/3 down over the center, and then the bottom 1/3 up
- turn 1/4 turn (short end facing you again) and roll into rectangle
- fold in thirds again
- repeat the roll/fold two more times for a total of 4 turns
- brush off excess flour, wrap in plastic and chill at least 3 hours or overnight
- roll and bake as indicated by your recipe
After the chilling time, roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface according to your recipe. If you don’t plan to use your pastry within a day, it is best to wrap in plastic, and then place in a ziplock bag to keep in the freezer for up to a month.
To use the puff pastry from the freezer, remove the dough from the bag and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or thaw in the fridge overnight.