I made a batch of from scratch puff pastry the other day. Isn’t it major gorgeous? I’d never made this type of dough before, but I always wanted to try my hand at it. Making this dough is a simple process once you understand the technique involved. I felt like I channeled my inner Julia Child as I was making this.
I didn’t take pictures of my efforts making my puff dough because I found a foodie blogger who has a produced such an excellent step-by-step pictorial of the process that it would be silly of me not to just refer you to his site. If you’d like to take a stab at making your own from scratch puff pastry dough, I would suggest a visit to Pancake Ninja and follow the recipe and instructions listed there.
Here is an additional resource, a link to The Balanced Pastry Chef’s page that explains all the how’s and whys of puff pastry dough. It contains a good explanation of the each step involved in making puff pastry dough. As an added bonus, Jenni’s included an instruction video on the page demonstrating how she makes her puff dough. Anyone else love the fact that you can get what amounts to a free classroom training session by watching well-planned out foodie videos? Gads, I so love the Internet!
The recipe I followed, produced two pounds of puff pastry. That was way more than I could use at one time, so I divided my dough into thirds. Two thirds of it is now lovingly wrapped in plastic, placed in a freezer bag, and now resides in the freezer for use at a later date. The other third I used to make a batch of apple filled pastries. This is how I made them:
First I rolled out my puff pastry dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. I placed it on a sheet pan, covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator to chill.
For the apple filling I peeled and cut two apples into small chunks, and squeezed the juice of 1/2 a lemon over them. I used Granny Smith apples for this recipe. Good apple flavor and they don’t mush up when cooked.
I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Once the butter was melted I added 2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Then I added the chopped apples and cooked, stirring occasionally until the apples were soft.
Next, I added in the spices. I added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.
To thicken my apple filling, I made a slurry of one tablespoon of white all-purpose flour and l tablespoon of cold water. I dissolved the flour in the water and, stirring constantly, added the mixture a bit at a time until I thickened up the juices to a medium thick consistency. I cooked the filling for about three minutes more, stirring constantly. Then removed from heatI poured the apple filling into a bowl, let it cool a bit, and then covered with plastic and placed in the refrigerator to chill overnight. The filling needed to be chilled completely so it doesn’t melt the butter layers of the puff pastry dough during the assembly process.
To assemble the pastries, I measured and cut my puff pastry sheet into 8 equal sized rectangles. I used a pastry cutter to cut the rectangles. You could also use a sharp knife to make the cuts. I measured and cut my rectangle of precious puff pastry so that I ended up with a minimum of scraps left over. Note, I did not toss those scraps. They got brushed with a bit of water, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and baked for a treat for the cook and Walker, the kitty who likes baked goods. More will be said about Walks, as we call him, in a future post.
I made some egg wash using 1 egg yolk beaten together with 1 tablespoon of water. To make a pastry, I brushed some egg wash around the outer edges of the rectangle, then placed approximately 1/4 cup of the apple filling in the center of the rectangle. Pile the apples slightly in the middle.
I positioned another rectangle of puff dough over the apple layer, gently pressing the outer sides together to seal the apple filling between the layers. This is where the egg wash kicks in, helping to form a seal between the two dough layers. Using a kitchen shears I cut 3 air vents into the top of the pastry. This will allow steam to escape during baking.
I placed my completed pastry on a ungreased baking sheet and then assembled the other three pastries using the same process as I did for the first one.
Cover the pastries with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for one to two hours to chill before baking.
When I was ready to bake my pastries, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven was preheated, I removed the pastries from the fridge, brushed the tops with egg wash, and sprinkled a bit of granulated sugar over the tops.
I baked the pastries for 25 to 30 minutes, until they were puffed up and golden.
My completed pastries hot out of the oven. I tried to get a good view of their puff. They puffed up to over double their original size. Of course, the house smelled divine. Who doesn’t like the scent of apple pie fresh out of the oven? The flavor was major scrumpto, peoples. Each bite was a flaky, buttery, spicy apple moment of eating Nirvana.
For a once in a while treat, these are worth the effort. Puff pastry rules!!!