Puff (the Magic) Pastry — The Modern Baker

Although we won’t get to the Puff Pastry section in the Modern Bake Challenge for about another year, I have been wanting to try the Perfect Elephant Ears on page 210 of The Modern Baker for a while. And I couldn’t see making them with store-bought puff pastry. So I’ve been eyeing the basic Instant Puff Pastry recipe on page 195 for some time.

But what finally tipped the scale was actually a recipe from Dorie Greenspan‘s new book, Around My French Table. I wanted to try a few recipes before French Fridays with Dorie started in October. And one that caught my eye right away was the recipe for Mustard Batons on page 15. They start with puff pastry, and again, I couldn’t fathom buying puff pastry in the frozen food section when I had Nick’s recipe to try.

The Instant Puff Pastry recipe is simplicity itself. It only has four ingredients — flour, butter, salt, and water. And unlike the typical puff pastry recipe, which requires multiple “turns” to fold and roll chilled butter into the dough, Nick’s recipe incorporates the butter into the dough from the beginning.

After combining the flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor, I added the butter (chilled and cut into pieces). I pulsed mixture, then added the water and finished mixing the dough. Then I turned the dough out onto a floured board, where I pressed and rolled it into a rectangle.

I cut the rectangle into two pieces, folded each piece in thirds, then rolled and flattened the resulting cylinders. I cut each piece of dough into three pieces.

As you can see from the pictures, the dough exhibits the layering of puff pastry, so I was hopeful that it would bake up with the same lightness. I wrapped each piece of dough, froze four of them, and refrigerated the other two to use for Mustard Batons and Perfect Elephant Ears.

I baked the batons and elephant ears over the next few days. And how did the puff pastry perform? You’ll have to check out the Mustard Baton and Perfect Elephant Ears blog posts to find out.

But I’ll give you a hint: I will never buy frozen puff pastry, nor will I ever be without homemade puff pastry in the freezer.

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12 Comments

  1. Allison said,

    April 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I love that you not only made your own puff for the mustard batons but you have an “instant” recipe! So exciting! And my friends wanted me to do reverse puff which is even harder than the regular. Instant is where it’s at!

  2. November 24, 2010 at 12:10 am

    […] recipe that didn’t include all those steps. But having successfully made Nick’s Instant Puff Pastry, which is also a simplified version of what is usually a complex process, I was encouraged to try […]

  3. October 5, 2010 at 7:36 am

    […] Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Puff pastry, sugar Having recently tried my hand at homemade puff pastry, I needed to find ways to use it. One of the recipes I was most excited to try was Perfect Elephant […]

  4. October 3, 2010 at 8:06 am

    […] recipe calls for frozen puff pastry. However, as noted in a previous post, I had been wanting to try Nick Malgieri‘s Instant Puff Pastry recipe, and this seemed like a […]

  5. Kayte said,

    October 3, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Believe it or not, I am a puff pastry maker. Learned it through Whisk Wednesdays with the Cordon Bleu curriculum and haven’t looked back since, so it will be interesting to make another version and see how it compares. Love working with the LCB dough, so soft and wonderful. Yours looks nice!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Is the LCB recipe the classic puff pastry, where you use several turns to press in the butter? I like Nick’s recipe because it is so simple and quick to put together, but I really don’t have anything to compare it to, since I’ve never used puff pastry before, let alone made my own. I can’t wait to hear how it compares in your opinion.

  6. ap269 said,

    October 3, 2010 at 4:32 am

    Can’t wait to see the results!!!!!! I made the puff pastry dough yesterday and will make elephant ears (here in Germany they are called pig’s ears) and the savory version NM mentions (with cheese and paprika) today. Was hoping to read your results before… ;o)

    • gaaarp said,

      October 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm

      Sorry to keep you in suspense. I’ve been doing so much baking lately that I can’t keep up on blogging!

      I will tell you that the elephant ears came out really good. I was a bit confused by the shaping instructions, but they ended up looking about like the ones in the book, so I guess I did OK.

      • ap269 said,

        October 4, 2010 at 2:15 am

        I was confused by the shaping instructions, too, but was relieved when I realized the end result looked like the picture in the book!

  7. Frieda said,

    October 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I’m on pins and needles…can’t wait!

  8. Abby said,

    September 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Can’t wait to hear!! For some reason, I’m a little nervous about trying homemade puff pastry. (Excited, too, though.)

    • gaaarp said,

      September 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      I’ll give you a hint. I won’t ever buy puff pastry again.


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