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Gigi's Pâte Feuilletée (Puff Pastry)

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup ice water

Remove butter from the refrigerator. It should be not quite hard, but not soft. Sift flour and salt together. Stir in ice water with a fork. Then knead dough with your hands until satiny smooth. Set ball of dough on lightly floured board. Cover with an inverted bowl and let stand at least 15 minutes. On lightly floured board roll dough into a neat 16-by-6-inch rectangle. Pull out corners to make a well-defined shape. Dough is tough at this point - don't be afraid of it. Straighten sides with palms of hands. Cut both sticks of butter into 3 equal lengthwise slices. Lay slices on half the rectangle with a 1/2-inch margin all around. From now on work fast - make every move count. Fold pastry half over strips of butter covering butter completely and press edges together to seal in the butter. Bang dough several times with a rolling pin to flatten and distribute butter. Roll dough 3 times as long as it is wide. Use ruler for exact measuring. Fold the large rectangle into 3 equal parts (giving you 3 layers of pastry) making a small neat rectangle. Edges and corners must always meet precisely. Work quickly so butter won't melt. Wrap dough in damp cloth, chill in refrigerator 30 minutes. Proper chilling of puff pastry is extremely important. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll again into a 16-by-6-inch rectangle and fold in thirds just as you did before. Wrap in damp cloth and refrigerate another 30 minutes. This rolling, folding and chilling is called a "turn". Always roll from short end to short end, rolling 3 times as long as wide and measuring with a ruler. Puff pastry requires 5 turns, with 30 minutes intervals of chilling. Keep refrigerated until ready to shape and bake into varieties of pastry. This recipe makes 1 pound of puff pastry. Dough can be frozen most successfully.


Puff Pastry - Rapid Method
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2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter,
cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon salt

Butter Package:
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 pound minus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter,
well chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For Détrempe: Combine flour and butter in processor and blend until mixture is consistency of coarse meal. Combine egg yolk, water and salt
in small bowl and mix well. With machine running, add yolk mixture
through feed tube and mix until dough forms ball. Remove from bowl and flatten into disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while working with butter.
For Butter Package
: Combine flour and butter in processor and mix until flour is completely incorporated. Remove from bowl and flatten into a
5-inch square. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate up to 30 minutes
("package" should be chilled, but not too hard to roll easily).
To assemble dough and make turns
: Form détrempe into a ball. Shape
it into a four-leaf clover. Roll it lengthwise, then crosswise. Place butter package in center. Fold dough to enclose package. Using rolling pin, make
3 indentations on top to help flatten dough. Roll into rectangle about
8-by-18 inches, but do not roll completely to edges or butter may escape; flour rolling pin and work surface, if needed. Brush any excess flour from dough. Fold dough into thirds as if folding a business letter, matching edges exactly. (This is the first "turn"). Give dough a quarter turn and again roll
to an 8-by-8-inch rectangle. Fold both ends into center, then fold in half. (This is called a "double turn".) Wrap and refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat rolling and refrigerating two more times. Dough is now ready
to be used. (Dough can be refrigerated or frozen. Bring to room
temperature before using.

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