How you doin’? No one would ever accuse me of being a shrinking violet, but back in baking school when I heard that we were going to make puff pastry again, I would quake in my clogs. For some reason this was one of the more difficult things for me to get right.
Puff pastry is just a simple laminated base dough like the doughs used in croissants—only without yeast. The butter is actually put inside the dough, making a paton which is repeatedly folded and rolled out before baking—alternating layers of dough and very cold butter, rolled, batted and folded over to create 68 flaky layers—count ‘em 68.
The ingredients are simple… the technique, not so easy. My friend Henry (Bavarian Specialties) found a way to automate the process with a quarter mile production line with over 400 motors. That may give you an idea of the complexity of puff pastry dough.
Fear not! I have a simple solution for you! Puff pastry, also known as pâte feuilleté, is a flaky light pastry with 101 uses, but why spend 2 days making it yourself when Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry is available (Trader Joe’s has an all-butter variety, as well). A box of this, ready-to-go frozen puff pastry is something of a miracle. If you’ve ever baked with it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It puffs into delicate, buttery layers (probably more than 68), turning even the most basic recipes into something that feels totally fancy.
It’s also super easy to use… all you need to do is pull the box out of the freezer and pop it in the oven. Well, not quite that easy, although I promise it’s almost that simple. Just remember to read the tips in the ChefSecret below and you’ll be on your way to light and flaky breakfast turnovers, bite-sized appetizers, savory tarts and Palmiers.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: 30 to 40 cookies
1 cup of unsalted melted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted, but still chilled (I use Pepperidge Farm)
ChefSecret: Follow these tips for baking with frozen puff pastry:
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