Serves: Makes 2¼ pounds
- 4½ sticks (18 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- 3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) very cold water
- 1½ teaspoons cider vinegar
Procedures:Puff pastry is one of the most versatile doughs in the pastry kitchen. And while traditional puff pastry can be daunting, with its layering of butter and dough, this quick version—akin to a butter-laden pie doug—is relatively simple. Yes, there are still turns to be made, but the process is quicker and results in a light, flaky, layered dough almost indistinguishable from the classic. And the flavor is far superior to any frozen product from the supermarket.
- Use a chef's knife to cut the cold butter into ¾-inch cubes. Transfer to the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the flour and salt and toss with your hands until the butter is coated. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Combine the water and vinegar and refrigerate for 20 minutes as well.
- Fit the bowl with the butter onto the stand mixer and blend with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 to 1½ minutes. The butter will break into pieces of various sizes, the largest about ½ inch square-too big for pie dough, but perfect for quick puff pastry. (Don't overblend, as the butter will break into pieces too small to form the flaky layers you want in puff pastry.)
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the water-vinegar mixture, drizzling it in at different points around the bowl. In about 10 seconds, the dough will begin to come together in large chunks and feel slightly moist, but it will not look smooth or finished. Turn the dough and any dry bits at the bottom onto a work surface that has been dusted with flour.
- Shape the dough into a rough rectangle about 6 by 8 inches and about 1½ inches thick. Dust the top with flour and roll the dough into a 14 by 16-inch rectangle. Brush any flour from the surface of the dough. Make a letter fold using a board scraper or offset spatula to help lift the "dough." Brush off any excess flour as you fold. It will look shaggy—have faith. Roll your pin across the top of the dough briefly and gently 1 or 2 times, just to fuse the dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this turning step two times, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between each turn. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 48 hours before using.
Storing: The dough can be double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for 4 to 6 weeks. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. If the dough is still very cold, let it sit on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes, then check to see if it is flexible enough to roll.