Puff pastry can be a challenge but this recipe, sent to me from a friend back home in Malta, is always a success. It can be time consuming as the dough has to be worked, then refridgerated, then worked again for a couple of times
There are a few things to keep in mind:
First : everything you use must be cold! The dough must also be kept cold at all times. The best working surface for the dough is a slab of marble since marble tends to stay cool.
Second: Always store the dough covered with a damp cloth in your refrigerator, but before storing it, make sure you remove any loose flour.
Third :Always sprinkle the working surface, the rolling pin, and the dough with flour before you start working the dough.
Fourth: Never turn over the dough while you are working it. Instead, turn it flat on the board (or turn the board itself) clockwise before each rolling and always in the same direction. This is one of the hardest doughs to make and you may have to try it a few times before you get it right!
1 1/2 cups plain flour
6 oz butter, cold, and cut into cubes
6-7 tbs. cold water
Pinch of salt
Sift flour and salt together. Divide the butter into half-inch squares. Drop the butter squares into the flour making sure not to squash them. Mix lightly until all butter cubes are covered with flour (make sure that the cubes remain intact.) Add water and mix lightly with a knife again making sure that the cubes remain intact. If some flour is left loose, add a teaspoon of cold water at a time until all the flour is used. The resulting dough should be very soft.
Sprinkle the dough and the working surface with flour. Work the dough into an elongated shape using your finger tips. Sprinkle some flour on the rolling pin and roll the dough until it is about eight inches long and not more than five inches wide. Now follow the steps below:
1 - Fold the lower third toward the top. Now fold the upper third toward the bottom on top of the first fold. You should end up with a three-layered rectangle. With light pressure from the rolling pin, seal the three edges, making sure the butter is locked in
2 - Remove any extra flour. Loose flour can cause gray streaks and can prevent the puff pastry from rising properly when baked. Now turn the folded dough anti-clockwise so that the right side is at the top. Roll the dough lightly until it is nine inches long and six inches wide.
3 - Repeat steps one and two.
4 - Cover the dough with a damp cloth and store in the refrigerator for twenty minutes.
5 - Repeat steps one through four, four times.
The dough can now be rolled out to the desired thickness