Puff pastry is made of thin sheets of dough, separated by thin layers of butter. This is what helps it to puff up. It can be used to make numerous dishes like meat, chicken, vegetable, fruit and seafood pies/en Croes, sausage rolls, snacks like cheese twists or cheesies, fruit/chocolate cups etc. etc.
500 gm. plain flour or maida
500 gm. unsalted, cold or half frozen butter
2 level tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon juice
500 ml., approximately, cold water
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Chill for 30 minutes.
Add 2/3rd of the butter, cut into cubes or grated, rub it into flour, with your fingers. This can be done quickly in a food processor. It should look like granular flour.
Leave 1/3rd of the butter at room temperature to soften.
Mix water and lemon juice. Make sure it is chilled water. Add it to flour, bit by bit, to make a dough.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and quickly but gently knead it into a ball. It doesnt have to be too smooth at this stage.
Roll it out into a rectangle of 1 1/2-2 cm. thickness. Centre should be thicker than the edges.
Place the softened butter in the centre of the dough, then fold over bottom part to the centre, covering the butter in the centre. Now fold the top part of the dough down, overlapping the lower folded flap, like an envelop, pastry covering the butter completely. Turn it over, with the folded side facing down.
Rotate the dough 1/4 turn.. If butter squeezes out, dust with flour and continue. Roll it out again into a rectangular shape. Repeat folding as before.
Rotate 1/4 turn again and repeat rolling out and folding. This folding and rolling out gives the puff pastry its layers.
Wrap in a foil or cling film and keep in the fridge for 20-30 minutes or longer, even 24 hours.
Leave it in fridge for another hour before using. It can be frozen at this stage. Defrost completely before using.
It is quite time consuming to make puff pastry, so most people, including myself, buy it ready-made these days. The ready rolled out version can be used straight from the pack and requires minimum effort. Home made one is not as professional.