Have you ever thought about making your own puff pastry? Of course you haven’t. Why would you? You can buy lovely blocks of puff pastry ready made from the supermarket. And anyway, from what you’ve seen on the Great British Bake Off, it looks ridiculously complicated doesn’t it?! I love GBBO, but if I have one little niggle with the show (ok it’s a fairly sizeable niggle, just ask my family and friends…), it’s that they over-complicate the simplest of things. I realise it’s all for dramatic effect, but I think they genuinely put folk off making stuff that isn’t really that hard.
I tried making my own puff pastry a few years ago when I was going through an ‘experimental’ stage (just in the kitchen mind!). I used a James Martin recipe, and the result was the lushest, butteriest puff pastry. And it was really easy! Honest! I’m not going to lie, nine times out of ten, I’ll use shop bought puff pastry. Why wouldn’t I? It’s really good and really convenient. But when I’ve got a little more time on my hands, and feeling a little bit more extravagant, I make my own (about once a year). This does take a bit of time, so only make it when you’re going to be home for a while. But the length of time is mostly the pastry sitting in the fridge, so you can be doing a multitude of other stuff at the same time. Believe me, this is totally worth a go.
Ingredients (makes approx. 500g of pastry)
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tsp lemon juice
about 160-170ml cold water
1. In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt. Add the cubed butter.
2. Mix the butter into the flour without breaking up the lumps. I use a fork to stir through.
3. Add the lemon juice to the water, then gradually add it and mix to a stiff dough. I start using the fork to bring it together, then use my hand to bring it into a ball. Just use as much water as needed to bring it all together.
4. Flour your work surface and place the ball of dough onto your surface.
5. Roll the dough out to a long thin rectangular, about 40x15cm. You’ll notice the lumps of butter in the dough. Use your hands to straighten the edges a bit.
6. Fold the top third of the dough down.
7. Then fold the bottom third up on top.
8. Turn the pastry sideways as in the pic, and then press down on the edges with the edge of your hands to seal it.
9. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
10. Take the pastry out of the fridge after 15 minutes (if you leave it longer it doesn’t matter, you just want it cold) and repeat the above process a further 4 times.
So take off the cling film and place on the floured surface (I never clear up between rolling out so I’m just ready to go):
Roll out to a long thin rectangle:
Fold down the top third, then fold up the bottom third:
Turn and seal edges (it’ll start to properly resemble a block of pastry):
Place back in the cling film and then back into the fridge for 15 minutes:
On your final roll your pastry will look something like this:
The blobs of butter won’t be noticeable and you should see streaks of butter throughout.
After the final rolling out and folding, place your pastry back into cling film and back in the fridge, this time for at least 30 minutes (the trick to puff pastry is keeping the butter cold). You can now leave your pastry in the fridge until you’re ready to use it, if it’s longer than 30 minutes it won’t matter. Once you’re ready to use your pastry, take it out of the fridge and use it like you would a shop-bought block of puff pastry.
So, have I convinced you? Is that not super easy? A little bit of faffing about, but like I said, most of the time is spent with the pastry sitting in the fridge so you could be doing whatever else takes your fancy in the meantime.
If you’re contemplating making sausage rolls for the festive season, this pastry will take them to the next level. Check out my sausage roll recipe for a sausage roll that will seriously impress your family and friends 😉