The Great Pandemic Baking Show: Puff Pastry

In The Great British Baking Show Masterclass, Mary Berry admits that she does not make her own puff pastry since it’s easier to buy it at the shops. Nevertheless, I lost my mind and decided that now would be a perfect time to make puff pastry from scratch. (I mean, now is a better time than, say, when I have a full time job!)

I used the instructions in The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook, which have you mix a small amount of the flour into the butter instead of just whacking the butter flat with a rolling pin the way the contestants on GBBO do. The mixing process (I used a stand mixer; I may need to invest in one for myself when I return to my own kitchen) softens the butter enough to be able to spread it into a square.

Puff pastry isn’t really difficult to make. It takes time, and patience, definitely. And it requires having a decent workspace and rolling pin. Maybe arm strength–though I don’t have that. And it requires being able to accept knowing that your pastry has a full pound of butter in it.

Anyway. I made my dough, I made my butter, I chilled it all, and then the next morning I put it all together. Roll–fold–chill. After a bunch of times, I had a nice, layered bit of pastry.

I used half the pastry for salmon en croute. I didn’t do a fantastic job of rolling the pastry thin enough, so it was a bit doughy on the sides. Definitely not going to get a Paul Hollywood handshake on it, but it was delicious. Shabbat dinner, so no photos.

With the scraps of pastry from the salmon, I baked some snacks. Butter, flour, egg wash, and heat–can’t go wrong.

What will I do with the remaining half of the batch of puff pastry? Stay tuned to find out.

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