Puff pastry is a flaky, buttery, and multi-layered pastry that is craved the world over. It is used for canapés, pie crusts, and doubtless many of your favorite dishes. It can also be used in either sweet or savory recipes. Some examples would be: beef Wellington, strudel, crescents, wrapped sausage, meat pies, cinnamon rolls, and Danish.
Making home-made puff pastry is a time-consuming and tedious process. Hence, when making your own puff pastry, it is advisable to make a large amount and just store the uncooked part in the freezer. Because, as we all know, making it from scratch certainly tastes the best and is worth the extra time and effort when you can manage it. Homemade pastry will keep for a number of months in the freezer and lasts for 2-3 days in a refrigerator before it needs to be cooked and consumed.
Because it takes so much time and effort to make home-made puff pastry, some just buy the ready-made ones from the supermarket, and there is nothing wrong with that. Especially if just a small quantity is necessary for the recipe. Puff pastry can be found in the fresh or frozen section of your local grocery store. The frozen puff pastry is the most common. If you opt for this route, just make sure to have it completely thawed out before you use it.
Basically, a puff pastry consists of dozens of layers of a flour based dough and fat, though in my opinion butter gives the best flavor. The dough often also contains lemon juice, water, and salt. You may also try butter with just a small quantity of lard to make the puff pastry. Some feel that lard helps improve the texture. Though puff pastry does not contain yeast but it naturally rises, or puffs, because of the multiple layers of fat in the dough.
You can make dough out of flour, a fraction of the butter, lemon juice, and water. Then roll the dough and fold around a rectangle that is made from the residual butter. Repeat this procedure, chilling well between each rolling and folding step, six times until the butter is perfectly folded around the dough. Thus a slight layer of fat is created between the layers of pastry. And during cooking time, the butter easily melts, then boils and generates steam. It stimulates the pastry to rise. It is impressive when you think about it. That someone came up with this fabulous technique so many years ago.
Keep in mind to work the dough quickly in a cool room and let the dough chill well. When making pastry, it is better to work on a cold surface, such as granite or a chilled cutting board. You can also chill your rolling pin to help. These steps are very important to making an excellent puff pastry. And as you can see there is no shortage of recipes it can be used for.