Puff pastry

Yield: 3 pounds

Measure Ingredient
2¾ cup Flour, all-purpose
1 cup Cake flour
1¼ teaspoon Salt
\N \N [ The Best of COOKS Magazine; 1987 ]
\N \N per Fred Peters
1¼ pounds Butter
1 \N Lemon
1 cup ;Water, cold (approx)

Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl. Remove and reserve ½ cup of the mixture. Cut six ounces (¾ cup) of the cold butter into the flour until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal. Squeeze two tablespoons lemon juice into a measure and add 14 ounces of water to make 1 cup of liquid. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture and toss with a fork to combine. Press together. Do not knead. Add a bit more water, if necessary, to make a soft dough. Gather the dough into a ball, squeezing to make it hold together, and flatten into a ¾-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the remaining 14 ounces of butter with a wooden spoon or in a mixer until smooth. Work in the reserved ½ cup of the flour/salt mixture until smooth. The butter should still be cold.

Form the butter into a ¾-inch-thick square, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.

After dough has been chilled at least 30 minutes, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a ½-inch-thick square. Set the chilled butter diagonally across the center of the square and fold the corners of the dough tightly over the butter as you would the flaps of an envelope, enclosing the butter completely. Brush off any excess flour and pinch dough to close tightly. Quickly roll this to a ½-inch- thick, 8- by 24-inch rectangle, keeping the corners as square as possible.

Fold the left-hand third of the dough over the center, brush off excess flour, then fold the right hand third over, as if folding a letter (forming an 8-inch square). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll again to a ½-inch, 8- by 24-inch rectangle. Fold in thirds again, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll and fold twice again. Chill for 45 minutes more. Roll and fold the dough two more times and chill the dough at least two hours before its final rolling and shaping.

Puff pastry can be made several days ahead, or it can be frozen. Cut off the amount needed and roll and shape as specified.

NOTE: The best puff pastry is tender and flaky, rising up to 5 times its uncooked height. The key to making great puff pastry is to keep the dough cold. Cold, as well as periods of rest, will help prevent the development of gluten in the flour which makes the dough elastic and, therefore, tough (fine for bread but not puff pastry). Chill both the butter and the water. If the weather is very hot, you may even want to chill the flour and the rolling pin. (A chilled rolling surface will also help.) Overworking the dough also encourages gluten production, so work as quickly as possible.

Submitted By SAM WARING On 11-05-95

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