How do you make puff pastry for a pie?

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asked Nov 16, 2020 in Recipes by P90seWngjase (900 points)
How do you make puff pastry for a pie?

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answered Nov 19, 2020 by layla (62,110 points)

Making Puff Pastry for pie is pretty easy as puff pastry is made from hundreds of paper-thin layers of butter trapped between hundreds of paper-thin layers of dough.

Puff pastry is made from hundreds of paper-thin layers of butter trapped between hundreds of paper-thin layers of dough. In the oven, the liquid in both the butter and the dough rapidly evaporates, puffing the individual layers skyward. The butter melts into the dough, turning it golden and crispy.

Getting to this end result takes a little work. First, you make a “lean” dough of just flour and water — it’s considered lean because it contains to fat. Then you wrap this dough around a block of cold butter. Roll it out, fold it up like a letter, roll it out, fold it up, and repeat. At the end of this whole process, you will have created all the paper-thin layers that make puff pastry puff.

Essential Tools for Puff Pastry

Making puff is a pretty low-tech process.

However, there are two tools you really need and that are tricky to replace: a pastry scraper and a French rolling pin.

The pastry scraper is used in all the steps: for scraping the flour back into a pile as you make the dough, for nudging the butter into place as you work it, for lifting and moving the pastry as you roll.

A pastry scraper also acts as an extension of your hands and fingers, helping you manipulate the dough without warming it up too much with your hands.

Puff Pastry is similar to pie dough but they are not the same thing.

When you bake Puff Pastry the Puff Pastry layers begin to separate and “puff” which is why it's called Puff Pastry.

Then the tiny pieces of butter that remain help to make the pie crust flaky when is baked, but the resulting pie crust is much thicker and sturdier than a puff pastry.

Pie crusts also provide a more solid bite and thus foundation to hold pie fillings.

A French rolling pin or a tapered rolling pin is also essential for pounding the butter and making it pliable.

The kind of rolling pins with handles and a freely spinning roller are both too heavy and too awkward for this step.

I’ve seen recipes that beat the butter in a stand mixer until pliable, but personally, I still feel that this warms the butter up too much. You want it to be pliable enough to be rolled like a dough, not so soft that it could be spread.

Making the Lean Dough

The process of making the dough for this pastry may feel a little awkward and unfamiliar to you at first: form a trough down the middle of a pile of dough, add a tablespoon of water, then fluff with your fingers. Keep your fingers loose and use a scooping motion. Repeat, adding water just one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms shaggy clumps and holds together when pressed.

But of all the parts of this process, you should fret the least about making the dough. The fluffing process is to ensure that the water gets evenly mixed into the flour and that not too much gluten is formed — it’s actually pretty fun to do. When else do you get to toss flour in the air?

As long as you add water gradually and the dough holds together when you’re done, your puff pastry will be fine.

Keep the Butter Cold, but Pliable

The butter in puff pastry presents a bit of a challenge: you want it to be cold so it stays solid and doesn’t melt into the dough, but you also need it to be pliable so it can be rolled out without breaking into pieces.

This seemingly magic act is accomplished by pounding the butter with a French rolling pin — you’ll need the kind that looks like a long shaft (not the kind with handles and a free-spinning roller).

Cut the cold butter into pieces and begin pounding it with the end of the rolling pin.

(This is very good for anger management, by the way.) Scrape the flattened butter up with a pastry scraper, fold it over on itself, and continue pounding and scraping until the butter will bend without breaking, but is still quite cold.

Sprinkle the butter with a few teaspoons of flour during this process — some of the liquid in the butter will bead up on the surface as you pound and the flour helps absorb this.

Also, rub flour on your rolling pin as needed to prevent it from sticking to the butter.

What It Means to Turn the Dough

Most of the labor of making puff pastry is in that process of rolling out the dough, folding it up, and rolling it out again. One round of rolling out and folding up is called a “turn” and you do six of them in total to make puff pastry.

To make sure the butter stays cool, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes every two turns — or between every turn if your kitchen is very warm.

If some butter starts to pop through the lean dough as you roll, just sprinkle the spot with a little flour, pat it with your fingers, and carry on. If this is happening a lot, that’s a sign that the butter is warming up too much and you should refrigerate more frequently.

Puff pastry can be used for the base of a pie.

You can use puff pastry to bake pies with and it will turn out just fine just like when you used regular pie crust.

I've baked pies using puff pastry as the base of a pie and it turned out great.

Puff Pastry does make great Pie Crusts especially for pies such as Fruit Pies.

To use Puff Pastry for pies just roll out frozen or homemade puff pastry to 1/8-inch thick and follow the instructions for par-baking regular pie dough.

To keep the bottom of your puff pastry from getting soggy make sure to preheat the oven to 400 F degrees and use a thick baking pan and brush the baking pan with a layer of Apricot Jam.

Most Professional Chefs who bake Puff Pastry will layer the baking pan or baking sheet with a layer of Apricot Jam which works wonders to prevent the bottom of the Puff Pastry From Becoming Soggy.

It has worked great for me after I learned to use the Apricot Jam on the bottom of the pan.

You can also brush the bottom of the baking sheet with eggs as well which also helps the puff pastry keep from becoming soggy as well.

Yes you do Thaw out Puff Pastry before baking it.

You must Thaw Puff Pastry Before Baking the puff pastry or it won't bake and turn out correctly.

Thawing the Puff Pastry out allows the Pastry to become pliable without softening too much.

When Thawing the Puff Pastry Out before baking it it's best to thaw the Puff Pastry out overnight in the fridge and then it will be ready the next morning to bake.

When you don't Thaw Puff Pastry Before baking it the Puff Pastry will not hold it's shape when baked and may also fall apart.

So take the time to allow the Puff Pastry To Thaw out first and then bake it.

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