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Puff Pastry - Definition and Recipes

Definition

Puff Pastry, also known as “feuilletage” or “Mille Feuille”, is the foundation of wonderful pastry recipes and savory entremets such as Vol-au-Vent.   It is basically a simple dough, briskly kneaded by hand and incorporating chilled butter of high quality, then rolled out and folded multiple times forming layers of dough and butter. Hence, “Mille Feuille” literal translation “Thousand Leaves” stacked upon each other.

How to Make Puff Pastry

Sift one-pound flour on a small table; make a fountain in the center; pour into its half-pint ice water, adding half teaspoon salt. Briskly knead with the hand, gradually incorporating the flour until a perfect dough; then let rest for fifteen minutes.

Wash well a pound good butter in a quart ice water; then knead the butter on the table with the hand, give a square flat form and keep in a cool place.

Rolling Out the Puff Pastry Dough

Rolling Out the Puff Pastry Dough © 2017 GG Archives

Flour the table, roll out the paste to one-third larger than the butter, place the butter on top, fold up the four corners to completely envelop the butter; then with the pastry roller, roll out to one-inch-thick square form.

Adding Butter to the Dough

Adding Butter to the Dough © 2017 GG Archives

Then fold up the paste in three folds without separating. Roll it out from the top with the roller to one-inch longer only, of a square form; this operation is usually termed “turn.”

Folding the Dough in Three Folds

Folding the Dough in Three Folds © 2017 GG Archives

Give the paste half a turn to the right with the hand and roll it out to the same thickness as before; fold up the same as before—then the paste will have two “turns.”

Place it on a tin enveloped in a towel and let rest in a cool place for twenty minutes. Then give two more turns as before; let rest for twenty minutes again. Give two similar turns and let rest in a cool place until required, always enveloped in a clean lightly wetted towel.

Puff Paste (First Stage)

Puff Paste (First Stage) © 1874 The Royal Book of Pastry and Confectionery

Puff Paste (Second Stage)

Puff Paste (Second Stage) © 1874 The Royal Book of Pastry and Confectionery

Puff Paste (Third Stage)

Puff Paste (Third Stage) © 1874 The Royal Book of Pastry and Confectionery

Puff Pastry Recipes

Banana Cakes

Lightly butter six small tartlet molds. Roll out on a lightly floured table a half pound feuilletage to one-fifth-inch thickness. With a round pastry cutter (a shade larger than the tartlets) cut out six round pieces and line them with cut pieces of paste; carefully press paste down with a finger in the center and all around, then spread a tablespoon apple jelly at the bottom of each tartlet.

Peel and slice six ripe bananas, then nicely arrange in the tartlets, sprinkle a little powdered sugar and pour two or three drops vanilla essence over each, set in the oven for twenty-five minutes, remove, spread a teaspoon currant jelly over each, take from molds, dress on the dish with a folded napkin, sprinkle little powdered sugar over and serve.

French Cream Pie

Place in a saucepan four egg yolks; two ounces sifted flour, half pint cold milk, two ounces granulated sugar and one-ounce good butter. Sharply mix with a whisk for two minutes, place on the fire, and as soon as it comes to a boil place in a bowl and let cool off.

Then add two ounces peeled and finely chopped almonds and a tablespoon orange flower water. Arrange a thin layer of feuilletage, so as to entirely cover a pie plate, neatly press the paste around the edges, trim off any superfluous paste adhering and lightly wet the edges.

Cut out a round piece of feuilletage half inch wide and place it all around the edges of the pie plate; lightly egg the border. Pour the preparation in the center of the plate, spreading well.

Make a few light incisions around the ring, then bake in the oven for twenty-five minutes. Remove, dredge a little fine sugar over and serve.

Gateau, Emma

Peel four juicy mandarins remove silky skins as well as seeds, place in a bowl with a tablespoon powdered sugar and two tablespoons curaçoa, gently turn in seasoning and let infuse until required.

Peel three sound sweet pears, cut in halves, remove seeds, then cut in slices; place in a bowl with a tablespoon sugar and two tablespoons Swiss kirsch, mix well and keep till required.

Line the interior of a lightly buttered pie plate with a thin layer of feuilletage then with pastry pincers pinch the edges of pie all around.

Spread two tablespoons raspberry marmalade at the bottom of the plate, then neatly arrange mandarins and pears alternately all-around at the bottom and set in oven to bake for twenty-five minutes.

Remove, beat whites of three eggs to a stiff froth, add tablespoon sugar and six drops vanilla essence, mix well, then spread preparation over fruit.

Sprinkle over one ounce finely chopped, peeled almonds and one tablespoon powdered sugar, reset in the oven for ten minutes, remove, dress cake on a dish with a folded napkin and serve either hot or cold.

GATEAUX, POLONAISE

Roll out on a lightly floured table a pound of feuilletage to a thickness of a quarter of an inch and cut six even pieces two and a half inches square. Lightly baste with a little water (on top only), fold the four corners to meet in the center, arrange them on a lightly wetted pastry sheet, lightly egg the surface, sprinkle a little-granulated sugar over and set to bake in a brisk oven twenty-five minutes. Remove, then fill the four open lines with currant jelly so as to form a cross, dress on a dish with a folded napkin, and serve.

Gateaux Religieuses

Peel, cut in halves, core and slice six sound apples; place in a saucepan with three ounces sugar, half vanilla bean and one-ounce good butter; stir well with a wooden spoon, cover the pan and slowly cook for thirty minutes, occasionally stirring.

Remove from the fire, briskly press through a sieve into a bowl and cool off. Place and keep the vanilla in sugar. Roll out a pound puff paste (feuilletage) on a lightly floured table to the thickness of a half dollar.

Cut out twelve pieces three inches square. Lightly wet the surface of six with beaten eggs; evenly divide the apple preparation on top, in the middle; neatly smooth the surface, cover each with the other six pieces and lightly press the top paste down against the edges of the first.

Lightly egg the surface of each layer on a roasting tin and dredge two tablespoons granulated sugar over. Set in the oven to bake for twenty minutes. Remove, dress on a dish and serve.

Jesuites

Roll out on a lightly floured table half pound feuilletage as thin as possible, then cut in twelve even triangular pieces, two inches base and three inches in height.

Prepare a crème pâtissière and divide evenly in the center of six of the triangular pieces, lightly wet the edges, cover with the other six pieces, press the edges together so as to entirely enclose the cream.

Make a light incision on top of each, then place on a lightly wetted pastry sheet. Pour in a bowl two ounces granulated sugar, six drops vanilla essence and the white of a small egg.

Sharply stir with wooden spoon three minutes. Spread the sugar over the six cakes. Sprinkle over an ounce peeled, chopped almonds, set in oven twenty minutes. Remove, sprinkle a little vanilla Sugar over them and serve.

Mille Feuilles

Roll out on a lightly floured table half pound feuilletage, as thin as possible; then with a round pastry cutter, three inches in diameter cut out eighteen pieces.

Lay them on a lightly buttered pastry pan. Make a few small incisions with a fork on top of each, lightly wet with the white of an egg by means of a hair pastry brush; then spread half teaspoon powdered sugar over each; let rest for half hour. Set the pan in a hot oven to bake for ten minutes. Remove and let cool off.

Spread half teaspoon apricot jelly over six pieces; spread half teaspoon Frangipani cream over six more pieces; then half teaspoon raspberry jam over the remaining six pieces.

Take three pieces, one of each kind, and arrange evenly, one on top of another; decorate with a little whipped cream and proceed the same with the rest. Arrange the six mille-feuilles on a dish with a folded napkin. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar over and serve.

Peach Tartlets

Roll half pound feuilletage on a lightly floured table to the thickness of a sixth of an inch. Then with a three-inch pastry cutter cut out six even pieces. Arrange on six scalloped tartlet forms, then with the thumb carefully press down the paste at the bottom and sides of the molds.

Place a teaspoon currant jelly at the bottom of each mold. Peel, cut in halves and remove stones of six good-sized, sound, ripe peaches, then cut each half in three slices. Arrange six slices over each tartlet, sprinkle over, evenly divided, two ounces powdered sugar.

Lay on a baking sheet, set in oven fifteen minutes. Bring them to the oven door, sprinkle a little more sugar around edges of the tartlets, reset in oven three minutes more. Remove, spread a teaspoon currant jelly over each tartlet, take them from the molds and serve.

Rice Cakes, Chantilly

Thoroughly wash and drain on a sieve four ounces rice, then place in an enameled saucepan with pint milk, saltspoon salt, half a vanilla bean, and let gently boil for forty-five minutes, lightly mixing at bottom with a wooden spoon once in a while.

Remove to the table, add two ounces sugar, half gill cream, a whole egg, the yolk of another, and sharply stir until well amalgamated. Remove the vanilla bean, wipe and place it in sugar.

Roll out on a lightly floured table six ounces feuilletage, and with it, line bottom of a pie plate, press down paste at the bottom and all round edges, then trim.

Line inside with a lightly buttered paper, fill up with dried beans, set in the oven for twenty minutes, remove, take up beans and paper, pour rice into the plate, neatly smooth surface, set in the oven for twenty-five minutes, remove and let rest ten minutes.

Beat up a gill cream to a stiff froth, add an ounce powdered sugar, six drops vanilla essence, beat up for a minute longer, neatly spread on rice, sprinkle little powdered sugar over, dress cake on the dish with a folded napkin and serve.

St. Honoré Cake

Roll out on a lightly floured table a quarter pound feuilletage to a round piece eight inches in diameter, place on a lightly wetted pastry pan and wet the edges of paste a little.

Prepare a pâte-a-choux, place it in a pastry bag, with a quarter-inch tube at the bottom, press three-quarters of the pâté around the wet edges, making a nice border, and set in a moderate oven for twenty minutes.

With the balance of the pâté make small balls the size of hickory nuts on a small pastry pan and set in the oven for fifteen minutes.

Place in a copper basin three ounces granulated sugar with a half gill water, boil for eight minutes, then drop in the small balls, one by one, and roll them in the syrup. Arrange one beside another on the border, place half a candied cherry over each ball, then fill up the center with a St. Honoré cream, dress on a dish with a folded napkin and serve. 

Tourte of Turkey, Helen

Carefully remove all meat from turkey leftover and cut it in small square pieces. Cut in the same way an ounce cooked beef tongue; two ounces cooked lean ham and two canned French artichoke bottoms.

Peel, wash, drain and finely slice six fresh mushrooms, place in a frying pan with a tablespoon melted butter, gently fry for five minutes, place in a vessel and add all the other articles.

Pour in one and a half gills milk, a gill cream, tablespoon sherry, teaspoon salt, two saltspoons cayenne, and one saltspoon grated nutmeg.

Grate a peeled, raw, well-washed potato and add to other articles, with two egg yolks, one teaspoon freshly chopped parsley, and mix well. Roll out on a floured table a half pound feuilletage to the size of a pie plate, lightly butter plate, then line it with paste.

Trim off at edges, pour preparation into the plate, sprinkle a little grated Parmesan cheese over, set in a slow oven for forty-five minutes, remove, place the plate on a dish and serve.

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