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(Pies And Pastry) - (The International Jewish Cook Book)

To make good puff paste one must have all the ingredients cold. Use a
marble slab if possible and avoid making the paste on a warm, damp day.
It should be made in a cool place as it is necessary to keep the paste
cold during the whole time of preparation. This recipe makes two pies or
four crusts, and requires one-half pound of butter and one-half teaspoon
of salt, one-half pound of flour and one-fourth to one-half cup of
Cut off one-third of the butter and put the remaining two-thirds in a
bowl of ice-water. Divide this into four equal parts; pat each into a
thin sheet and set them away on ice. Mix and sift flour and salt; rub
the reserved butter into it and make as stiff as possible with
ice-water. Dust the slab with flour; turn the paste upon it; knead for
one minute, then stand it on ice for five minutes. Roll the cold paste
into a square sheet about one-third of an inch thick; place the cold
batter in the centre and fold the paste over it, first from the sides
and then the ends, keeping the shape square and folding so that the
butter is completely covered and cannot escape through any cracks as it
is rolled. Roll out to one-fourth inch thickness, keeping the square
shape and folding as before, but without butter. Continue rolling and
folding, enclosing a sheet of butter at every alternate folding until
all four sheets are used. Then turn the folded side down and roll in one
direction into a long narrow strip, keeping the edges as straight as
possible. Fold the paste over, making three even layers. Then roll again
and fold as before. Repeat the process until the dough has had six
turns. Cut into the desired shapes and place on the ice for twenty
minutes or longer before putting in the oven.
If during the making the paste sticks to the board or pin, remove it
immediately and stand it on the ice until thoroughly chilled. Scrape the
board clean; rub with a dry cloth and dust with fresh flour before
trying again. Use as little flour as possible in rolling, but use enough
to keep the paste dry. Roll with a light, even, long stroke in every
direction, but never work the rolling-pin back and forth as that
movement toughens the paste and breaks the bubbles of air.
The baking of puff paste is almost as important as the rolling, and the
oven must be very hot, with the greatest heat at the bottom, so that the
paste will rise before it browns. If the paste should begin to scorch,
open the drafts at once and cool the temperature by placing a pan of
ice-water in the oven.

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