My boyfriend loves these puff pastry bakings, and well, I do also have trouble keeping my fingers away from them. But being a baker, I’m the most excited about the fact that all one needs for such a delicious treat is flour, butter, sugar and water. The trick lies in the lamination of the dough, the key to which is using cool ingredients and giving the dough a plentiful resting time between the folds. I’ve had my practice with this dough, so I think, I can now share it with full confidence that it indeed, does work.
250 g All-purpose-flour
250 g Butter (83 + 167 g)
150 g Cold water
and quite an amount of sugar
Mix the flour with one third of the butter (83 g), ’till crumbly. Add the cold water and mix quick and shortly into a smooth dough. Roll out into a rectangle, about 1cm thick. Wrap the sheet into a cling film and place into the fridge.
Roll the rest of the butter (167 g) into a rectangle as well, this being about half the size of the dough sheet. Place the butter sheet into the freezer.
Do dishes, take a walk or find something else fun to do, while waiting for the ingredients to cool. I always tend to let my butter get too cold, and then it starts crumbling into pieces as I’m rolling out and folding the dough. Too warm butter can start melting through the dough layers, thus resulting into a faulty lamination. You can try to rescue the situation either by placing the dough into the fridge for a time, or letting it warm up on the table, depending on the case. Anyway, do not panic. You’ll still end up with a puff pastry in the end, after all rough puff pastry works, too.
So, once your butter feels ready for it, start the folding. First place the butter in the middle of the dough and seal it in. Don’t be afraid to use some flour to keep the dough from sticking to the table.
Roll the dough out ’till about 1,5 cm thick and make a simple fold. Fold one third in the middle, and the rest on top of this.
Roll the dough out again and make a double fold. Fold the dough almost in half, leaving the bottom part just a bit longer. Then fold this end towards the middle meeting the other end of the sheet. Finally fold this in half.
Now let your dough rest wrapped in cling film in the fridge for a minimum of one hour. After the resting time, make another doubled fold and finally one last simple fold. Then leave your dough covered in the fridge for overnight. This is required for the dough to rest and not to shrink when working it further. At this point the dough is very bland having no flavor to it. From this same dough I have made salty puff pastry bakings, filled with tuna or minced meat.
The next day start by rolling out your dough to a rectangle of 30cm x 40cm, using just enough flour to avoid it from sticking to the table.
Now cover the dough with sugar, turn it over, and cover the other side with sugar as well. Roll out slightly to make the sugar stick into the dough. With a ruler, make a marking to the middle point of the side that is 40cm wide, also to 20cm. Then turn the ends towards the middle, so that they are in the halfway to the middle point. Put some more sugar on these folds.
Then carefully turn the folds to the middle, so that they meet.
Cover with sugar, and fold one side over the other, so that you are left with a long, somewhat-roll-like-shape.
Be patient, and freeze the dough for a while now. It makes a lot easier to divide into equal pieces and to place onto the baking sheets. Meanwhile, you can heat up your oven to 210°C degrees and prepare two baking sheets for the elephant ears.
Once the dough is cold, divide it into 18-20 pieces and place onto the two sheets, leaving enough room for the puff pastry to PUFF. Be sure the elephant ears are totally unfrozen and then bake in the middle of your oven for about 7-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. My oven heats up quite well from the bottom, so I usually have to place the tray a bit higher in the end, so that they brown evenly.
Be careful, they are hot when eaten straight out of oven. But don’t worry, they cool down pretty quickly, too.
One of my earlier versions, think I’ve improved.