The first recipe in the Puff Pastry section of The Modern Baker is the basis of all the recipes that follow. Sure, you could make these recipes with store bought puff pastry, but why would you? Especially since, like so many of Nick Malgieri’s recipes, the recipe for Instant Puff Pastry is so easy to put together.
The puff pastry has only four ingredients — flour, butter, salt, and water — and comes together quickly in the food processor. 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 rolled and turned the dough, making sure it was well-floured on the top and underneath, until I had an 18-inch square. I cut the square in half, then rolled one half out to a 12 x 18-inch rectangle. I folded the rectangle in thirds, then rolled it into a cylinder and flattened it under my palm. I did the same thing with the other half of the dough. When I cut the dough in half, it exhibited the layers you expect to see in puff pastry.
It took less than half an hour to put the dough together, and Nick says that it can be frozen for several months, so I decided that while I had the ingredients out and the food pro already messed up, I might as well make all the dough I would need for this section of the Modern Baker Challenge. I figured that I would need five recipes of instant puff pastry. Each batch came together faster than the one before, and I had all five of them finished, divided, bagged, and the kitchen cleaned in just over two hours.
I put them in the fridge while I cleaned, then moved all but the ones I was planning to use right away to the freezer.
If you’ve ever made puff pastry using a traditional recipe, you’ll understand how simple this recipe really is. And once you try it, you’ll wonder why you ever went to all that work before.
And whether you’ve made puff pastry before or not, I guarantee that once you try this recipe, you’ll never go back to store bought again.