After a bit of a break, I’m back to my Puff the Bakery pastry course, and this week it’s the big one: puff pastry. I was always aware it was meant to really difficult to make at home: I remember watching bakers struggle on The Great British Bake Off year after year, and for that reason, I’ve never even considered making it, shop-bought always worked. Today though, I was excited to give it a whirl and see if I could do it.
After reading going through all the pastry course work, and watching the videos, I realised the difficulty lay mainly in the duration, not the making. Either that or this course is really good because I didn’t have any issue making the dough. The lovely, buttery layers in puff pastry are made through folding a block of butter into the dough, rolling it out, and folding over and over again. As you want the butter to be cold so the layers remain intact, you only do a fold or two before you have to chill it for 2 hours. As a result, my puff pastry dough took most of the day to make. I was hoping the result would be worth it.
For my first bake with the pastry, I followed the course recipe for a Galette des Rois, a French pie, normally made for Epiphany (6th January), and filled with frangipane. The course is really nicely planned as I’ve already got the frangipane skills from an amazing tart I made a few weeks ago, so it felt a little less daunting knowing I only had to concentrate on the pastry.
As with the last time I made frangipane, I made brown butter hazelnut version (instead of traditional almond), and simply piped that into a circle in the middle of my pastry. Once I’d put a circle of pastry on top of that, it was time to shape and score it, and generally make it look nice – not my strong suit.
I was stressing out a lot doing this, as it was getting very warm in my kitchen and I was trying to make it look nice whilst also moving quick – I didn’t want my layers to start melting at this stage! I was convinced I hadn’t sealed the pie properly, and generally gave up on it turning out properly at all.
As you can see it went a little bit wonky, and an unappealing brown around the edges, but it smelled soo good.
I was so relieved when I saw how much it had puffed up, I’d done it right after all! I sat on my hands and let it cool for an hour: I was desperate to tear into it. The wait was worth it though: I was absolutely amazed at how good it tasted. I really think this is the best thing I’ve made yet. Buttery, flaky, and deliciously nutty inside, it was really perfect. I joked to my friend that it was so good it wouldn’t see the next day, it turns out I was absolutely right: James and I ate a good chunk of it, then a friend came over to drop something off so we reluctantly sent the rest home with her.
I was a little sad that it went so quickly but deliriously happy that I now knew how to make it all over again. This course continues to deliver hit after hit, I can’t wait to see what comes next!