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.
Pastry making tips
We have put together some great tips for making perfect pastry every time, which includes information on the type of flour used and how you need to give the pastry time to rest!