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Puff Pastry

Puff pastry: A light, buttery dough raised to many times its original thickness by the action of steam, used for sweet and savoury tarts, vol au vents, bouchees and feuilletes.
Remember, Pastry is only as good as the flour you use. Don't buy cheap flour.

ingredients

2 cups (500 g) of butter
ice water
3-1/4 cups 3-times sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon chilled lemon juice
3/4 cup ice water

method

1. Place 1-1/4 cups butter in a large mixing bowl filled with ice water. Knead with hands until butter has consistency of soft dough and is free from lumps. (You will have to remove your hands from the icy water several times during kneading process.) Place butter in double thickness of muslin or tea towel; squeeze to remove excess water.

2. Rub ice cubes over working surface (a piece of marble, if possible) to chill thoroughly. Place butter on cold surface; shape evenly into rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Place on dry piece of muslin or towel. Wrap; refrigerate.

3. Thoroughly chill working surface again with ice. Sift flour with salt onto cold surface. With fingers, work flour out from center to form ring. Cut remaining 1/4 cup butter into small pieces in center of ring.

4. Chill working hand in ice water until cold; dry. Mix the flour, for a small amount at a time, with butter inside the ring by rubbing the flour with butter between your thumb and first 2 fingers. This breaks down the butter to form small granules. Chill and dry hand frequently during process.

5. Reshape ring; pour chilled lemon juice and 1/4 cup ice water in center. Work flour mixture from inner ring into liquid, using 2 knives, add small amounts of water and work in flour mixture until all ingredients are moistened.

6. Shape into smooth ball; sprinkle ball with additional sifted flour. Wrap in cloth; and chill for 30 minutes.

7. Again ice a cleaned working surface. Place dough on a chilled, floured surface; roll into long, narrow 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Remove butter from muslin; place in center of rectangle.

8. Bring edge of rectangle nearest you up and over to center of butter. Brush off excess flour; press down gently. Fold left, then right sides to center. brush again; press down gently. Brush top flap over; press down gently. Lift dough and re-flour surface, if necessary.

9. Now begins the all-important part of making puff pastry--blending the butter into the dough. In all rolling and handling of dough care must be taken not to let butter break through dough, or air trapped between layers will escape. If this should happen, patch the hole with small amount of flour. Air trapped between layers will expand when baked and cause pastry to puff. Roll gently, keeping rectangular shape; do not roll over ends.

10. Fold edge nearest you to center; fold top edge to center. Fold top over to bottom edge. Make 1/2 turn to right; stick finger in top edge of dough to indicate starting position for next rolling step. Wrap securely in waxed paper; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

11. Remove dough from refrigerator; place on iced, floured surface with finger mark at top of working surface. Repeat 3 rolling, folding , and turning procedures as before; chill 30 minutes after second, third, and fourth rolling. After fifth roll, wrap; chill at least 3 hours.

12. Roll out sixth and final roll as recipe directs; bake immediately. (After fifth roll, dough can be chilled overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling.)

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