This puff pastry recipe from Louise Lennox is perfect for beginners.

"I always thought puff pastry took hours to make. While it doesn’t actually take much manual labour to create, you do need to be around the kitchen for a few hours so it can be rolled and rested a few times. I find making puff pastry very therapeutic. I will agree it is much easier to buy it but homemade butter puff pastry does taste nicer"- Louise Lennox

 

Yield: Makes 1.25kg

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250ml ice cold water
  • 25ml white vinegar
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 400g unsalted butter, chilled

Method

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water, vinegar and melted butter and mix until a soft dough is formed. Roll into a ball and cut a cross in the top. Wrap in clingfilm, then refrigerate for two hours.
  2. On a floured surface, flatten and roll out the four edges of the dough to make a square. These should be big enough to fold over the butter.
  3. Place the butter between two sheets of parchment paper. Flatten out the chilled butter with a rolling pin until it is slightly softened but still firm. Lay the butter diagonally on top of the dough. Wrap the dough around the butter to enclose it completely. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Flour the work surface again and roll the pastry out in one direction to a 40cm x 30cm rectangle. Fold the bottom of the pastry one third onto the pastry and the top a third down to make three layers. Rotate the pastry 90 degrees to the right.  Roll it out again into a rectangle. Fold in the pastry as before to make three layers.  This is called the first turn. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm. Allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  5. Repeat this method four more times, allowing to rest in the fridge between each turn. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Puff pastry tips

  • Don’t over-work the dough or use too much flour when rolling out as it will become rubbery and will shrink when cooked.
  • It’s very important to have the oven at a very hot temperature. This is what makes the puff pastry rise. The moisture in the butter makes steam, which pushes up the layers as it evaporates.
  • Use lemon juice instead of white vinegar. The citric acid helps the dough stretch more when being rolled out and helps prevent the dough from shrinking.
  • Never try to knead or re-roll scraps of puff pastry as they won’t rise properly.