In baking, puff pastry (French: pâte feuilletée) is a light, flaky pastry made from dough of the same name. The dough, which is also called puff paste, consists of many layers of fat sandwiched between layers of dough. Although Larousse Gastronomique, and some other writers, use the terms interchangeably, traditionally in English, the term puff pastry is distinguished from the term flaky pastry, in the way in which the shortening (fat) is folded into the dough.
Croissants are sometimes formed from puff pastry. Puff pastry shells used to be filled with crab meat salad or chicken à la king at ladies' luncheons. An American fashion in the late 1970s was to bake a wedge of Brie in puff pastry and serve warm. Choux pastry, used to make cream puffs, is different, using eggs. Bourekas is also made out of puff pastry, filled with various ingredients. Sausage rolls and jambons are puff pastries commonly available from delis in Ireland.
There are several ways to make puff pastries below.
Notes on baking and storing puff pastry edit
Puff pastry is cooked when the bottom of the item is browned and the pastry does not collapse into itself.
- Use a very sharp knife to cut puff pastry. A blunt knife will crush the layers together and prevent the pastry from rising to full height.
- Do not get egg wash or milk wash on the sides of the pastry. This will glue the layers together during baking and result in uneven lift.
- Excess flour left on the item will burn easily in the oven. Dust it off with a soft pastry brush.
- Always bake puff pastry in a very hot oven (220°C/425°F). A hot oven ensures the moisture in the dough turns into steam, which is what makes puff pastry rise.
- Puff pastry should only be baked for a short time. 15 to 20 minutes usually suffices. This is dependent on the oven and recipe used.
- Open the oven flue during baking to allow steam to escape and the pastry to dry, or failing that, open the oven door near the end of the baking.
- When using puff pastry as a base, small holes can be cut into the pastry allowing airflow to reach the under side (sometimes referred to as puffin' holes).
- Puff pastry can be refrigerated for a week, or frozen for three months. Stored puff pastry will have less lift than fresh pastry.
The following are either recipes for puff pastry or recipes using puff pastry.
- Gisslen, Wayne (2001) Professional Baking, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-34646-2
- Larousse Gastronomique (1938), (1961 English translation), Crown Publishers, New York
- The Concise Household Encyclopedia, (1933), Amalgamated Press, London