Presented by chef Lizwephila Shalom Mabunda
Makes enough for about 8 small open tarts, or one large. Takes about 30 minutes, spread out over about 90 minutes.
250g all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
140ml chilled water
250g butter, cut into 5-10mm chunks and well chilled
Clear a large space on your worktop and clean it thoroughly, also put your rolling pin in the fridge.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt, then put a small pile of flour on the back corner of your worktop.
Add the butter and very gently mix together with your fingers until all the separate chunks of butter are coated in flour.
Add the water in 3 batches, mixing it gently with your fingers, until it is all incorporated. It is important to be light here, as you don’t want the butter to melt.
Grab a ‘pinch’ of the spare flour between your fingers and throw it at the worktop, to dust your working space.
Turn the mixture out onto the floured surface (make sure you get all the bits out of the bowl) and knead JUST A COUPLE OF TIMES. You do not want it to be smooth and even, there should still be chunks of butter in the mix.
Shape into a square, wrap in greaseproof paper and then refrigerate for 20+ minutes.
Re-flour your work surface, then unwrap the pastry and place on your surface and roll into a long, thin rectangle. Fold the top third down, then the bottom third up and on top of the piece you’ve just folded down, to create a square.
Wrap the pastry in your paper, refrigerate for another 20+mins.
Repeat step 7 & 8
Your pastry is now ready to be rolled and used however your recipe requires!
As you may have gathered, it’s very important to keep puff pastry cold when working with it. Make it during the cooler part of the day, or with the air-con on if possible. The reason for this is that you need to keep the butter that you fold in as solid as possible prior to cooking. In the steps where refrigeration is required, you can always leave it in the fridge longer to really chill it down, whilst you go and do something else, like making your pastry’s filling or reading a book. 📖