French Puff Pastry
Use equal quantities of flour and fat.
The fat used varies with the purpose for which the pastry is intended; it may be butter, margarine, or, for such uses as vol-au-vent cases, lard, or raw fat from an ox-kidney, finely chopped and mixed with a little oil.
Note: The French method of making puff pastry is a little different from the English one, but it is worth trying as it makes excellent light pastry.
Use a slab of marble if you have it, in preference to a pastry board.
Pile the flour upon it; make a depression in the middle, and put into it a pinch of salt and a little water.
Mix lightly with the tips of your fingers, gradually adding cold water till you have a fairly firm dough of the consistency of butter.
Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Roll out in the shape of a rectangle; spread the butter or fat over this, and turn in the edges so that none of the fat overlaps.
Roll out again, then fold in three, like a table napkin; roll again, this time in the opposite direction (making the rectangle long where it was wide last time).
Fold in three again.
Now leave it to rest for 20 minutes.
Repeat this process 2 or 3 times, always allowing 20 minutes in between for resting.
Use the dough 20 minutes after the last folding.
It is essential to work on the coldest possible surface if this pastry is to succeed.
Some pastrycooks make it on a metal tray set on crushed ice.