The first time I laid eyes ( mind my language 😉 ) on this KBB’s challenge recipe, host this month by Mae dan Rachmah, I knew right away that I would make Tarte Tatin, because the title of the recipe is ” classic” puff pastry, the word classic made me thought thatI need to make something classic also out of it, so then tarte tatin it was.
This is my second encounter with making Vienesse , but the result of this recipe is superb, very crunchy pastry, soft and of course delicious 🙂
The recipe I used for the Tarte Tatin, you can find it in Nigella Lawson’s book, How to be a domestic goddess.
Classic Puff Pastry (Pate Feuilletée)
1 pound (4 cups) All-Purpose Flour OR 3 cups All-Purpose Flour and 1 cup pastry flour OR 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, 1/2 stick chilled, the rest at room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons salt (1 for sweet pastry, 2 for savory)
1 1/4 cups cold water (use more if necessary, a tablespoon at a time); you can also substitute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for 1 of water if you wish to further temper the gluten in the flour
Making the Dough: Measure the flour into a mixing bowl. Remove 1/2 cup and set it aside in another bowl.
Take the half stick of chilled butter, cut it into small pieces and drop it into the flour. With two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal.
Add the salt (and optional lemon juice) to the water and add this to the flour. Mix gently with a fork until you have a rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you need to add more water, do it a tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and the gluten has been somewhat developed, about 2 or 3 minutes. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preparing the Butter: Take the remainder of the butter and the reserved flour and mix the two together until they’re well blended and smooth. You can do this with a mixer, a food processor or with a spoon, by hand.
Pat this butter/flour mixture into an 8-inch square on a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. Cover it with second sheet of waxed paper and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. By mixing the butter with flour, you stabilize it somewhat so it won’t decide to “flow.”
Rolling & Folding: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and put it on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it into a square about 12 inches on a side. You don’t have to be obsessive about the dimensions but be pretty close.
Put the butter square in the center of the dough square but turn it so that the corners of the butter square point toward the sides of the dough square. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter until they meet in the middle. Pinch and seal the edges of the dough together.
Turn the square over and tap it gently with your rolling pin or by hand into a rectangular shape. (Make sure everything is still completely, but lightly, floured.) Begin rolling the dough from the center, away from and towards you, into a larger rectangle 20 inches long and 10 inches wide.
As you work, keep the dough, the table and the rolling pin well dusted with flour. Although the dough will absorb some of the flour, it is relatively soft to begin with so the dusting flour isn’t enough to worry about.
Turn the dough over from time to time. As you roll you tend to expand the top layers more than the bottom. By turning it, you’ll even it out.
When the dough is the right size, fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center and the top third over (like a business letter) and turn the dough package 1/4 turn to the right so it looks like a book ready to be opened. If the dough is still nice and cold and still relaxed, do another rolling and turning the same way. (If it begins to feel too soft or wants to resist being rolled, cover it, put it on a small baking sheet and refrigerate it for 15 minutes to chill and relax.)
If you’ve successfully rolled it out and folded it twice, you’ve completed two turns. Classic puff pastry gets six. Continue refrigerating it after each two turns (or more often if necessary) until all six turns are completed.
Make a checklist somewhere so you know how many turns or layers you’ve made. Bakers commonly put fingerprints in a corner of the pastry to indicate the numbers of turns. If you try this, be careful you don’t break through with your fingernails, since the layers are very thin.
An alternate way of rolling and folding, which is both more and less demanding, is to make a turn every 15 minutes. This means that you will have to be more attentive to the dough, but the dough, because it has a chance to rest after each turn, will be nice and relaxed for the next rolling.
The Big Chill: When all six turns are done, put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour (and preferably overnight) before shaping. Like other pastry doughs, you can freeze puff pastry in a non-self-defrosting freezer for up to a year if it’s well wrapped. It can also be frozen at any time during the rolling, folding, turning process. Defrost it thoroughly before you use it, but just make sure it doesn’t get too soft.