Puff Pastry (Pate Feuilletee)
1 lb All-purpose or unbleached flour
1 lb (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 ts Salt
1 c Heavy cream (or 1/2 cup heavy cream mixed with 1/2 cup ice water)
In the bowl of a food processor or using the flat paddle of an electric mixer, mix 1/2
cup flour with the butter until very smooth. Shape the mixture into a flat square 1 inch
thick, wrap well in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Combine the salt with the remaining flour in a large mixing bowl and add the cream. Mix
the dough well by hand or with an electric mixer; the dough will not be completely smooth
but it should not be sticky. Shape it into a flat square 1 1/2 inches thick, wrap in
plastic, and chill, at least 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured board, roll the dough
into a rectangle twice as long as the butter dough. Place the butter dough in the center,
fold up the ends to completely encase the butter dough, and seal the edges by pinching
them together. Wrap well in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes, so that the dough
achieves the same temperature throughout.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured board, roll it out into a
large rectangle approximately 1/2 inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds, aligning the
edges carefully and brushing off any excess flour. The object is to ensure that the butter
is distributed evenly throughout so that the pastry will puff evenly when baked. Wrap the
dough and chill it for at least 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
Repeat this process five more times; classic puff pastry gets six turns, creating hundreds
of layers of butter between layers of the flour dough (729 to be exact). Use as little
flour as possible when rolling out the dough, and always brush off any excess. (I use a
4-inch brush for this.) Remember to let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes in the
refrigerator between turns, or 15 minutes in the freezer. This chilling makes the rolling
out much easier and it keeps the layers of butter of equal thickness.
By the sixth and final turn, the dough should be very smooth, with no lumps of butter
visible. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 2
days), or freeze for future use. I usually divide the dough into 1-pound pieces and freeze
it that way.
RECTANGULAR TART SHELLS: Roll out the pastry into a rectangle at least 20 inches long
and about 1/8 inch thick. Using a ruler as your guide, cut the edges with a sharp knife so
that the pastry measures the desired size (I generally make these 4 X 18 inches). From the
remaining pastry, cut three strips 1/2 inch wide and as long as the tart.
Place the rectangle on a parchment-lined or water-sprayed baking sheet. Build up the edges
by pasting two strips on the long edges with water. Cut the third strip into two strips
that will fit the shorter edges and attach with a bit of cold water, overlapping the ends.
Prick the entire inside bottom of the pastry shell with the tines of a fork (this prevents
uneven puffing). Carefully line only the bottom with aluminum foil, and weight with beans,
rice, or aluminum or ceramic weights. (Be careful not to weight the edges.)
Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and brush the uncovered
edges with a glaze of 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tsp cream or water. Bake for 12 to 15
minutes, or until the edges have puffed and begun to brown. Remove the weights and foil,
and continue to bake until the entire shell is light golden brown. Let cool completely on
a wire rack.
Source: Martha Stewart's Pies and
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