Flour, salt, ice water, and cold butter. That's all the ingredients needed for making a puff pastry. Making it can't be hard, can it?
I wanted to make an appetizer for a Thanksgiving dinner and found a recipe that called for a frozen puff pastry.I thought of making it from scratch because I was on a little break from school and wanted to test myself if I was able to make it. I used a recipe from Baking with Julia cookbook. Weather wise, it is a perfect time to make puff pastry since the key of its layers is cold butter. Cold weather means less refrigeration along the process. The night I made it was probably the coldest night before Thanksgiving I've ever experienced this past eight years. In fact, we had some snow the day before.
The steps of making puff pastry from scratch are simple, but they are labor-intensive and tedious. It involves mostly... rolling! Since the butter (the dough in general) is cold, rolling it requires much energy. Someone said that she needed a push-up bra when rolling fondant. I could totally relate to that I spent that evening standing on a step stool because my kitchen counter is too high for me. At the end of the day, I was sweaty, my biceps were sore, and I didn't know whether my dough would work or not.
I continued the rolling and folding process the next day then cut the dough to rectangular shapes. While waiting on another cooling process, I prepared the toppings, which were chopped mushrooms, caramelized onion, apple cubed, chopped basil, julienned orange bell-pepper, and grated Gruyere cheese. I baked the puff pastry almost 24 hours after I started the process. Hubby just gave me a smile when he saw me still dealing with rolling and folding
The result was very rewarding though. The pastry was tender crunchy flaky layers in each bite. It definitely was worth the effort.