Puff pastry is quite a luxury pastry, not difficult to make but it does take a long time from start to finish (roughly about 3 hours), due to rolling and resting the pastry for 30 minutes between 6 rolls of pastry.
If you do have a go, use a very strong white flour such as flour used in breadmaking - the best fat to use is pastry margarine, which is firm in texture and, unlike butter, it has a very high melting point. If you find the pastry margarine difficult to obtain, pop into a local baker and ask if you can buy a kilogram or two.
Always roll your dough into a rectangle and fold three times after each roll always in the same direction and turn in a quarter turn to the left before rolling again. Hopefully this will allow the pastry to rise straight up when being baked.
After 6 complete rolls you should end up with a lovely block of puff pastry — pastry of a thousand leaves that will melt in your mouth.
- When baking, steam is created from the melting fat that should force the pastry to rise in many very thin layers. You can help the process by sprinkling a little cold water over the baking tray to create extra steam. Also when baking, you will need quite a hot oven or you may find your pastry will melt away and not rise at all.
- Puff pastry gives a beautiful luxury pastry to top meat pies and to make beautiful sausage rolls, vol-au-vents, cream horns, Eccles cakes and many, many more. And, save all your pastry trimmings as they are perfect for making mouth-watering cheese straws.