Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Magic of Puff Pastry

One video recipe I plan on tackling soon is puff pastry. This very special dough is readily available in our grocery store's frozen foods case, but it's a recipe that any foodie must try at least once.

This is from Vah-Chef, Sanjay Thumma, who does a great job explaining the process. I will do the recipe in US measurements, so don't worry about converting the metric measurements he gives.

If you've tried to make puff pastry yourself, I'd love to hear your experiences, and also pass along any recipes you found successful.

By the way, I'll be flying back to San Francisco on Tuesday, so things should be returning back to whatever normal is on this blog. If I've not responded to a comment or email, I've either not had time, or simply missed it -- so try again. Thanks and enjoy!



Photo (c) Flickr user foooooey

26 comments:

Sheldon said...

as an Indian, I find very proud of his youtube channel. The guy loves cooking and it shows when he tastes his product at the end. I will try this recipe when I get the time. Looks like a nice weekend challenge!

breathingmylife said...

Vah-Chef on Chef John's blog! The best news of the day :)

nossi said...

now i understand that it needs to be kept cold, but im wondering if you can place ice under the tray he's using, and that will keep it cold enough. what do u think?

Chef John said...

no, must be refrigerated between each fold.

Anonymous said...

I have always loved Vah-Chef but the video editing is so bad! It's spliced in a way that it's choppy when viewed. LOL! Good chef. Lousy editing.

Kelly said...

In a class I've done the traditional way with the block of butter, and the 'cheaters' way with shredded butter. I also made the cheaters way at home once and preferred it to the commonly found (less expensive) puff pastry in the grocery store.

My rolling pin skills aren't great - and keeping it rolled in a relative square was challenging, but I do like the idea he uses in the clip of using a cold hotel pan upside down. And maybe I obsessed about 'square corners' more than the chef in the clip did. Since once you fold it the corners square up anyway. Perhaps my obsessive nature needs to take a vacation when I try puff pastry:)

I'm torn about puff pastry, I know I can make a better product than the cheap one, and I hate spending the money on the Dufours, when I know I can do similar myself. But since I don't use it often, I tend to buy what I need.

Asian-Malaysian said...

Ive followed this guys curry recipes and they are quite good. Thanks for posting this clip.

Anonymous said...

I've made puff using the shredded butter method too that Kelly mentions. I think it gives a better texture for flakier layers. Shredded cold butter is also good for biscuit making too I have found. Can't wait to see what you do with this Chef John. I am imagining baklava, meat pies and sausage rolls, tarts and turnovers and samosas and all sorts of sweet and savory recipes that you can create with exploring the Puff. I hope you will explore Choux pastry in the future as well.

philx1 said...

Great work again Chef John in introducing people to other great chefs, although the Barbequeweb guy's Baloney was a bit out there :-)
I always have a bit of a giggle at the intro of Sanjay's videos when I seem to hear 'with your washup at whatever dot com'. Love his talk though of course.

Looking forward to when you get home and get time to do some 'extreme rolling'. BTW, don't forget to use your dingchick-dingchick (truncheon) when you do ;-).

Anonymous said...

Actually, with 6 folds, there are 3^6, or 729 layers. It would take one more fold to make 2187 layers. But who's counting.
I made puff pastry years ago, with this method. Just for fun. Now I buy it.
jackie

ghanima said...

I don't know if there are any other lactose-intolerants reading your blog -- and I highly doubt there are vegans here -- but if there are, I thought I should mention that I've successfully created puff pastry using Earth Balance shortening, and hope to get around to attempting it with their (very butter-like) vegan margarine.

Chef John said...

Thanks, but is there really enough lactose in butter to cause a problem?

adri_anah said...

There are vegetarian almost lactose intolerants who read this blog ghanima! :)
I can't wait for your puff pastry recipe. Please make baklava! :) Or something with fruits and nuts.
Great video, i loved how he truly enjoyed eating the puff pastry at the end and how he sincerely loved to teach.
Thanks Chef John!

cooker said...

An Indian on your turf ?........Vah Chef John, you've made it :-)

(Vah is Wow in Hindi.......& Vah re Vah would mean a pat on the back for a job well done ...
though I'm not too sure I'm getting one now :-)

Chef John said...

Vah, thanks!

Don Madrid said...

What if you lose track of how many folds you made.

Chef John said...

After each fold drink a beer. When the six-pack is gone you're done.

Minh "Sa" Chau said...

How much butter was that? I'm trying to make beef wellington in a week for a competition.

Chef John said...

Not sure, but i would recommend using frozen puff pastry for your comp!

Minh "Sa" Chau said...

I used puff pastry to make beef wellington and oh-boy it was yummy.

Claudio said...

he didn't say that you have to turn the dough always to the same side after each fold.

SRVfan said...

If the butter popped out, does that mean I have to throw the entire dough away?

Actually some patches have popped some butter. What I did was wiped it off w/ a paper napkin, folded then immediately put it in the ref. I put it in the freezer but only for 10 to 15 mins.

Chef John said...

Should be fine!

sallokatallo said...

My two favourite chefs! :)

Louise said...

Even though it's not quite as "puffy" I like Alton Brown's food-processor method. So much faster.

If you've the patience the folding will give a better result, though.

Bizlep said...

Chef
I've been courting puff pastry (PP) because I have friends here in Brazil that ask me for 'Pastéis de Nata' (Portuguese Custard Tarts). These need a rim of puff pastry, but I guess it doesn't need to be the French thing even more time consuming in a tropical city like Rio). So, in my quest for easier substitutes I went to Michel Roux Rough PP, than yours 'Puff Butter Biscuit' video recipe and even a Chinese based Oil & Water dough which can be done skipping butter altogether and using Olive Oil, or both if butter flavour is a must. I supply the links under for the curious here. The Chinese thing is similar to your biscuit method in the sense that it is done by folding two distinct layers of dough, being the one on top exclusively done with flour and fat, no water. I want something that is quick and sufficiently flaky for making the beloved egg and milk custard tarts. So, I'm trying yours next time, may be by making the basic dough with olive oil and grinder butter as fat. The one with olive oil works fine, but paradoxically it is more puffed if you role and fold it less times, as I've found at my expense...even so, the resulting dough was amazing and it is probably one of the best for savoury quiches.

Thanks for the 'challenge' :)

LINKS:
Portuguese custard tart (original recipe - Delicious!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64UE-34q2TM
Half recipe (I use 1 entire egg + 2 egg yolks): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpELRsSJN6M
Michel Roux method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c18ET36ViR8
Chinese Water & Oil dough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3mzjA0ah94