In the light of modern techniques, new textures, and centrifuge aromatic liquids, it is always important to sometimes look to the recipes of our culinary past. We should give them a new purpose and incorporate them into our cuisines. Puff pastry is something that I have worked on, studied, and experimented with new flavor combinations…. all this to innovate it’s pristine textural applications and find a new place on my culinary vocabulary shelf.
I will not go into depth on the various steps, lamination, and hydration of proteins, but I will share some thoughts on new creative ways of making puff pastires. I will include two core recipes that I often use as foundations to other possiblities. By playing with flavor incorporated in the butter and also by modifying different flours, one can surely reach new creations. I have and usually keep a few frozen in my freezer. Some flavors I have are chocolate, pistachio, saffron (enhanced by using roasted prawn oil in the butter) and even gingerbread flavored and ready to use on a whim. Also remember that P.P freezes extremely well and can be done on an off day.
Regular Puff Pastry
510g bread flour
310g cold water
First mix the bread flour with the salt and quickly incorporate the butter and cold water to make a smooth uniform dough (detrempe). Cut a deep X into the top of the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to rest the gluten. Shape the remaining butter (beurrage)into a small block and set aside. When ready to roll out, make sure the two blocks have the same texture. Make a double turn and refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding. After each double turn, make an indention with your fingers to indicate how many turns have been done. A total of 6 turns is sufficient and refrigerate at least an hour in between each double turn. Refrigerate or freeze until use. When baking, set the oven temperature to 375F and bake until golden brown.
What is Inverted Puff Pastry?
This style of P.P differs by having the majority of the butter in a dough form (beurrage) that is on the outside and the flour dough (detrempe) on the inside. The addition of vinegar definitely enhances the crunchiness of the final texture. One helpful tip when rolling this style of puff pasty is rolling on a marble slab or on large pieces of plastic wrap. This helps from having to add too much flour to the dough while rolling.
Inverted Puff Pastry
150g bread flour
350g unbleached all purpose flour
First mix the butter with the bread flour and shape into a rectangle. Separately, knead the rest of the ingredients together, the two block should have the same texture. Lay down the butter block and plce the flour dough on top. Make a single turn, two double turns and another single turn, allowing the dough to rest for an hour in between turns. Refrigerate or freeze until use. When baking, set the oven temperature to 350F and bake for 25-35 minutes depending on the size and the dough.
While working on new flavor combinations, I have been quite taken by Chinese Sesame buns. I therefore applied this flavor concept with P.P. By replacing 10% of the total butter weight for the Beurrage with sesame oil, and adding sesame seeds and minced scallions, this will give a twist and wonderful surprise to a traditional puff pastry.
The Detrempe is so important to having a perfect puff pastry, whether it is inverted or regular. A smooth uniform texture is note that the ingredients were combined correctly.
A deep bakers cut just before rolling to incorporate the beurrage.
Side by side, about to be one.
While rolling, your level of success will be apparent by the smoothness of the dough after each turn.
One of my foie gras tart dishes enhanced by an old school puff pastry, but with a hot rod enhancement by using Asian flavors and a bit of creativity.