Puff pastry dough from scratch! Pretty simple actually, much of the 3+ hours spent making them last night was keeping the dough chilled. And even the apple filling was at least as intensive, merely because it required constant stirring. Despite the fact that it was something new, it was all in all a relatively relaxing process. Depending, of course, on how much patience and manual effort you’re capable of. Not an ordeal, quite simple:
2 c flour
2/3 c cold water
1/2 t salt
1.5 c/3 sticks butter, cold
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped up good
1-2 T cornstarch
≤ 1/4 c brown sugar
≤1/4 c water
I made the filling first, as it needs to cool completely before filling the pastry. Toss all the above in a sauce pan on medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are at the desired firmness. Set aside to cool completely, as any warmth will melt the butter in the dough. Use the fridge if you need to.
Dough time: I sliced each stick in half lengthwise, then turned 90º and sliced lengthwise again to make quarters, then cubed the quarters, and put it all in the fridge for 10 or 15. I mixed the salt and flour, then added the cold water, stirring only until there was no loose water. The resultant dough will be kinda shaggy and raggedy, which is normal. After the butter cubes were chilled, I tossed them together with the dough, pressing it all together into one mass, before rolling it out into a rectangle about 6″ wide x 18″ long. I folded the ends in towards each other so they met in the middle, then folded them one on top of the other. Then, I rolled it out into another 6″ x 18″ sheet, and repeated twice more. More folding means more layers/rise. Then I wrapped it up and stuck it in the fridge for an hour or so.
(Important note I completely forgot: if, at any time, the dough/butter ever gets too soft/warm, refrigerate/freeze for about 10-15 minutes. Sure it adds time, but cold dough/butter is essential to the entire process, for flakiness, rise, and such.)
Upon taking it out, I rolled out the dough, on parchment paper, into a rectangle 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick, then put it on a baking sheet in the freezer about ten minutes. After taking it out, then I cut out the circles or squares (I did 4″ wide or so each, wider if you want big ones) on the baking sheet, then turned the cut-outs face down. I spooned about a tablespoon (not too much or the pocket will be hard to close) of filling just off-center, then brushed egg wash (just a beaten egg + a little salt) on the non-fruit half, and folded it over the fruit half. I pressed the edges gently together to seal, crimping with a fork is optional, though it may help seal. Then I brushed the top lightly with egg wash, not so much that it runs down the sides and edges though. I sprinkled demerara on top, then tossed them in a 425º oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Always keep an eye out, regardless of whether you’re over or under 20 minutes.
Pretty cool, I’m proud of these. Batch number one, which came out with great color but not as much puff:
Batch number 2, which was made partially out of the scraps from batch number one, and therefore came out with more rise because I had to re-roll and re-fold, which is how you increase volume anyway, though unfortunately I left them in maybe a minute or two too long and some of the sugar on top burned, but still, look at the extra volume!