Flaky Pastry


The beauty of this recipe is in it's simplicity; it is fairly easy to make, it doesn't take long & there are only a few ingredients. I have made wheat based puff pastry a couple of times (less than 10) & they turned out really well but it takes a long time (sometimes I am a little impatient in the kitchen). Wheat based puff pastry is not something I would make if friends rang up & said we will be dropping in to visit in ~1 hour. I certainly would make this pastry if that happened, regardless of whether the friends were on gluten free diets or not.

Don't be alarmed at the techniques used to make this pastry. We all know that this recipe is for gluten free flaky pastry as such some of the techniques are different to conventional puff pastry methods. If you were making wheat based puff pastry some of the techniques you just wouldn't do. I am not a chef, let alone a pastry chef & I am so happy with how my homemade flaky pastry turns out but imagine the gluten free delights a professional pastry chef could make with this pastry. 

I find it easier to work with a large piece of dough however I have made 1/2 batch of the pastry by halving all the ingredients. In addition the dough can be frozen so it may be easier to make a whole batch & then freeze half.

I think the best Flaky pastry I have made is when the dough is made just prior to use. It seems to me that the dough is more flexible when it is kept moving therefore the dough is not rested or refrigerated at any stage in the following recipe. Sometimes this is not practical. So I have made the dough & left it either in the freezer, fridge or on the kitchen bench (currently my kitchen is ~18 C) & it still works - the pastry is great. If I wanted the pastry as part of the main dish for a dinner party I would; prepare the dough, roll it out to the thickness I wanted, roll it up in baking paper & store it at room temperature (provided the room is not too hot). 

Ingredients

Dough block

300 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

1/4 - 1/2 tsp Salt

150 g Butter cold & chopped

125 g Water

Extra BM gf flour for flouring worksurface & rolling pin.

After dough block

115 g Butter (as a big chunk(s) in the freezer)

 

Method

Cut a chunk of butter that is as close to 115 g as you can get. Rarely will it be spot on, if not cut a bit more & sandwich it on to the chunk. 

Put the butter in a container in the freezer.

Preparing the dough block 

Thermomix

Put the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour & salt into the TM bowl.

Mix for 10 sec on speed 4.

Add the chopped butter & water to the TM bowl.

Mix for 25 sec on speed 4. 

If the dough is still marble sized pieces mix for another 4 - 5 secs on speed 4.

Stand mixer

Sift together the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour & the salt. Discard any larger pieces (some of the pysillium husk probably won't go through the sieve).

Put the sieved flour, chopped butter & water into the mixing bowl.

Mix on low/medium until it forms a ball.

Food Processor

Put the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour & the salt into the bowl.

Mix by pulsing briefly.

Add in water & chopped butter.

Mix until it comes together as a dough.

All methods

Use some of the extra gf flour to lightly flour a clean work surface & rolling pin. I usually put a piece of baking paper on my kitchen bench as I don't have a pastry mat (perhaps I should get myself one).

Transfer the dough to the floured surface.

Knead the dough. Kneading the dough helps with the flexibility. If you want to test whether the dough is flexible roll it out into a sausage shape & then bend it in half (photo below).

Roll out the pastry, trying to keep it in a ~rectangular shape (~30 x 50 cm). Mine looks more like a square! Use extra flour when required on your work surface & on the rolling pin to ensure the dough doesn't stick to either. I usually have a little bowl containing some of the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour close by.

Take out one of the chunks of butter from the freezer. Grate the butter over the top of the dough like you would cheese on to a pizza base.  

Fold in the sides a little bit, enough to have a folded edge the length of the dough.

Fold over the end that is the furthest away from you a little bit. Roll the pastry up. I didn't fold over the edge when making the pastry in the photo below this is the reason that the grated butter can be seen at the top of the roll.  

Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape (~30 x 50 cm). You will see the streaks of butter in the dough. I usually lift the dough up every now & then & put a bit more flour to prevent it sticking to the work surface. Fold in one long side of dough to approximately the middle, fold the other long side into the middle. The rectangle will now be ~15 x 50 cm. Fold in one end to approximately the middle then fold the other end in to the middle. The rectangle will now be ~15 x 25 cm. Then fold it up one side on to the other like a book (~15 x ~12 cm).

The dough is now ready to either be frozen or used.

If freezing the dough - Wrap the dough in a plastic clingfilm or put it in a plastic bag & store it in the freezer. I find it handy writing the date & what it is before I put it in the freezer (I don't do this all the time & end up with surprise packages).

Using the dough

Place dough onto a floured work surface. To ensure the dough is an even thickness follow this tip. Find 2 placemats (dinner setting - my placemats are ~4 mm thick) or two pieces of cardboard (I use ones that are 2-3 mm thick) place one on either side of the dough. When rolling out the dough ensure the rolling pin is wide enough to span the dough and part of the top of the placemats/cardboard. My rolling pin is large – 61 cm from handle to handle. If your rolling pin is smaller it may be easy to half the dough. Initially when rolling the pin may not necessarily rest on the placemats/cardboard, however, when the dough is the same thickness as the placemats/cardboard it will. At this stage the dough should be all the same thickness.

Cut the dough into the required shapes. Some shrinkage will occur during baking, on some things this doesn't matter (sausage rolls) or others it might (a pastry lid for a dish). In this case I would cut the pastry larger than you need. If you need the finished product to be flat (Vanilla slice top & bottom pastry sheets) then when you are baking the dough put a sheet of baking paper on top & then put a baking tray on top of this to weigh it down. 

Bake at 210 - 220 C. The length of time required for baking will depend on; the thickness of the pastry, what the pastry is covering & your oven. 

I would use Fabulous Flaky pastry on the top of pies & for desserts. I would use Flaky pastry for anything that will go into children's lunch boxes, the bottom of pies, sausage rolls etc.