Puffed to Perfection

We’re already halfway into July and if there’s one thing that’s caught the fancy of our chefs at Lavonne, it’s got to be the versatile puff pastry! Think delectable layers of Mille-Feuille or cutesy butterfly shaped Palmiers, and you’d know that puff pastry manifests itself in various forms.

FullSizeRender (1)                                                                                    Palmiers at Lavonne

Also referred to as “pâte feuilletée” in layman’s language, it can be described as a light, flaky, mechanically leavened pastry containing several layers of fat which is in solid state at 20 °C (68 °F). In raw form, puff pastry is a laminated dough composed of two elements: a “dough packet”, the détrempe and a “butter packet” or other solid fat, the beurrage.

If you’re wondering about its technicality, the gaps that form between the layers left by the fat melting are pushed by the water turning into steam during the baking process. Piercing the dough will prevent unnecessary puffing, and crimping along the sides will stop the layers from shedding all the way to the edges.

FullSizeRender                                                                                     Laminated Dough

Commercially made puff pastry is available in supermarkets and common types of fat used include butter, vegetable shortenings, and lard.  However, butter is the most preferred choice because it provides a richer flavour and far better mouthfeel.

Interestingly, making puff pastry is as much a science as it is an art. The number of layers in puff pastry is calculated with the equation: l= (f + 1)^n, where ‘l’ is the number of finished layers, ‘f’ the number of folds, and ‘n’ the number of times the dough has been folded. It should therefore come as no surprise that making puff pastry is a time consuming process.

10639579_10155167038080076_2099551224725780571_n                                                                                           King’s Cake

Speaking of its versatility, puff pastry can also be leavened with yeast to make croissants or Danish pastry, among other variants, though such doughs are not universally known as puff pastries. Also, puff pastry could either be sweet or savoury.

In a post that is scheduled for later this month, we promise to indulge you again with the puff pastry and a recipe to whet your appetite!

IMG_1862                                                                  Students at Lavonne making puff dough