Piece of life
As I was about to start this recipe, a little drama happened! My precious cooking scale was out. After running out to buy some batteries, it turned out it was not it. I had no other option but to buy a new one, but I had no option than to wait a few days before I could finally prepare a puff pastry.
That said, let’s get started and do you me a favor: try it, you’ll see it’s much less scary than it looks.
About the inverse puff pastry recipe
People are often scared of doing their own puff pastry. This recipe requires waiting time and understanding the folding, but other than that it’s pretty easy. I’ve never tried the classic recipe, but this inverse puff pastry is a perfect option. I’ve been using the same recipe for years, from pastry chef Christophe Felder’s, I find it perfect. I adapted a bit the process by speeding up the folds [see below].
Before taking the plunge, I was worried about the quality of the butter. Puff pastry involves a large amount of butter, and even more a special one called “beurre de tourage” [a large sheet of dry butter, very rich in fat (84%), and of high quality]. But I can’t find this kind of butter easily in Montreal. So I bought butter at the grocery store, which turned out to work very well. I buy any brand [depending on specials], so it can be either a brand name or a house brand. My puff pastries have always worked pretty decently. And when I need a sheet of butter [literally a butter in the shape of a sheet], I slightly soften the amount of butter I need; I form a sheet, film it and put it in the fridge to harden. Works like a charm.
Now the main point of the recipe: the folds. For the dough to rise properly, it must be folded several times to form layers. This will allow the dough to form the famous puffs. You must make at least 5 to 6 folds for a successful puff pastry. There are several methods to make them. The classic version is to make simple folds. If you do so, you will need a whole day to make your dough since you have to put it back in the fridge between each fold. But luckily, you can also do double folds! And you can cheat a little more by combining a single and a double fold at a time! But there is a limit, if you make more folds in a row, the dough warms up, and you risk damaging it.
So here’s how I do it: first, a single fold, and I go straight on with a double fold. I put the dough back in the fridge [1 to 2 hours, or more if I have other things to do], and I do the same thing again: 1 single and 1 double fold. There you go, you have six folds, and the dough is ready. It has to be placed one last time in the fridge, and it can be used. The puff pastry must always be very cold when you use it.
How to prepare the dough, step by step
Combine the “simple dough” and “butter flour.”
The “butter flour” should be about twice the size of the “simple dough.” I spread them to the right size before putting them in the fridge. I find it easier to spread them immediately than after resting in the fridge, as they are much more rigid. Place the “butter flour” on a well-floured counter and the “simple dough” in its center.
Fold the edges of the “butter-flour” edges over the “simple dough” so it is trapped inside.
2. Single fold
Spread the dough lengthwise, thinly (to about 5 to 6 mm). Make a single fold.
3. Quarter-turn and double fold
Once you’ve done the single fold, turn the dough a quarter turn so that the opening always faces you.
4. Double fold
Spread the dough lengthwise as before, then make a double fold.
Film the dough and store it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4.
Take the dough out of the fridge. Place the opening in front of you and spread the dough lengthwise again. Then make a single fold, turn a quarter turn, spread and make a double fold.
The dough is ready. Film it and let it rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge before using it.
1/ Try to anticipate [i.e. never prepare the dough on the same day you’ll need it, unless it’s the quick puff pastry recipe]. I prepare it according to my schedule, with no stress. I can sometimes leave it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours between the folds. It doesn’t change anything to the recipe or interfere with my busy mummy routine.
2/ puff pastry freezes very well, therefore you can prepare some in advance. Let it defrost in the refrigerator the day before using it.
3/ no waste: use your puff pastry offcuts to make small appetizers. Brush it with egg yolk, then sprinkle with sesame seeds or parmesan or fill them with blue cheese or anchovy. Bake in the oven, and that’s just delicious.
Inverse puff pastry (chef Christophe Felder’s recipe)
For the "simple dough"
- 150 ml cold water
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 12 g salt
- 350 g flour
- 115 g melted butter, lukewarm
For the "butter flour"
- 375 g cold butter diced
- 150 g flour
For the "simple dough" (use the hook)
- Mix water and vinegar. Add salt to dissolve it. Add flour and butter.
- Knead the dough at low speed. Stop as soon as the dough is smooth and homogeneous, about 2 min.
- Roll it out to give it a rectangular shape (the final size should be about half the size of the butter-flour).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
For the "butter-flour" (use the flat beater)
- Pour the flour and cold butter into the food processor bowl.
- Mix at low speed until the butter has absorbed the flour, about 1 to 2 min.
- Roll out the dough with a pastry roll to give it a rectangular shape twice as large as that of simple dough. Film it and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Combining the doughs (see details and videos above)
- Place the butter-flour on a well floured surface. In its center place the simple dough. Fold the butter-flour all around the simple dough, to trap it completely.
- Roll out the dough with a pastry roll, lengthwise.
- Make a single fold, turn a quarter turn (to have the opening facing you), spread out again lengthwise and then make a double fold.
- Wrap the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Place the dough on a floured surface.
- Spread the dough lengthwise, make a single fold, turn a quarter turn, spread again and make a double fold. Wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- After at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, the dough is ready to use.