Puff pastry — lovely rich, buttery, flaky… don’t you just love it? I do! Not the healthiest thing in the world, but if you’re going to have it, you might as well have it made with butter. Here in the UK it’s surprisingly difficult to find ready made puff pastry in supermarkets that is actually made with butter. The brand sold in most places is full of all kinds of rubbish. A young lady on a recent episode of Come Dine With Me claimed that “puff pastry is so difficult to make that even top chefs buy it ready-made!” I hope not! Or at least, I hope they are buying the good stuff. The truth is, puff pastry is not that difficult to make yourself. It takes a little effort, and some time, but it’s not hard. Plus, most of the time consuming part is when the pastry is relaxing in the fridge, at which time you can relax too!
This is Michel Roux’s recipe for classic puff pastry from his book Pastry. (Check out his recipe for shortcrust pastry too.) This puff pastry is delicious and you can really taste the butter, so if you’re a real butter connoisseur, this is a good time to use good quality butter. I often start it the day before I need it, and one of the resting periods can be overnight. Once you have it, you can use it for all manner of delicious buttery pastry treats, including pies, palmiers and feuilletés.