Piece of life
As I was about to start this step-by-step recipe, a little drama happened into my kitchen ! My precious scale was out. At first I thought it was the batteries so I ran out to buy some. But no, in spite of brand new ones, it didn’t give any signal of life anymore. I had no other option but to buy a new one one right away, but I then had to wait a few days before I could finally prepare a puff pastry.
Now you have to please me and get started, you’ll see it’s much less scary than it looks.
About the inverse puff pastry recipe
People are often scared of doing puff pastry. This recipe requires waiting time, and to understand how to fold it, but other than that it’s pretty easy. I’ve never tried the classic recipe but I’m a fan of inverse puff pastry and quick puff pastry. For the recipe I use famous chef Christophe Felder’s one, I find it perfect. I just adapted the process a little bit by speeding up the folds [I explain this below].
Before I started the first time I was worried about butter. Puff pastry involves a good dose of butter, 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 here. So I just bought butter at the grocery store, and it worked very well. I buy any brand [depending on specials] so it can be either a brand name or a house brande, my puff pastries have always worked well. And when I need a sheet of butter [literally butter in the shape of a sheet], I slightly soften the amount of butter I need, I form my sheet, film it and put in the fridge to harden. It works very well.
And now the main point of the recipe : the folds. For the dough to raise it must be folded several times to form layers, which will allow the famous puff. For a successful puff pastry you have to make at least 5 to 6 folds. There are several methods to make them. The classic version is to make simple folds. If you do this 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 fold, yeaaaaaah! And you can cheat a little more by combining a single and a double fold at a time, double yeaaaaaah! But there is the limit, if you make more folds in a row the dough warms up and you would risk to damage it.
So here’s how I do it : first a single fold and then 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 6 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 where they are much more rigid. Place the “butter-flour” on a well-floured counter, and place the “simple dough” in its center.
Fold the edges of the “butter-flour” over the “simple dough” so that it is trapped inside.
2. Single fold
Spread the dough lengthwise, thinly (to a height of 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 is always facing 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, just film it and let it rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge before using it.
1/ I always anticipate the preparation of the dough [i.e. I never make it the same day, unless it’s a quick puff pastry]. I prepare it according to my schedule, with no stress. I can sometimes leave it for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator between the folds. It doesn’t change anything to the recipe and it doesn’t interfere with my busy mummy routine.
2/ puff pastry freezes very well. So 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 with egg then sprinkle with sesame seeds or parmesan, or filled them with blue cheese or an anchovy. Bake in the oven and that’s just delicious.
Inverse puff pastry (chef Christophe Felder’s recipe)
- Stand mixer (you will need the hook and the flat beater) (ideally but can also be done by hand)
For the "simple dough"
- 150 ml cold water
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 18 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.