Nelie's Unbeatable Flaky Pastry
Perfect pastry for pies (sweet and savoury)
- 1 kg flour
- 5 ml salt
- 750 g butter and/or marg you can use butter or marg or a mixture
- 3 egg whites keep the yolks for brushing the pastry
- 30 ml vinegar
- 500 ml ice water
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- Place flour and salt in a large bowl. Divide your butter/marg into 3 equal quantities (250g each). Set aside two of these to soften.
- Rub or cut in the first 250g quantity of butter/marg to form a breadcrumb texture. This can also be done in a food processor on pulse.
- Add the egg white, vinegar and water and mix with a fork until the mixture starts to come together. Once it becomes hard to mix, turn it all out onto the counter and knead lightly until if forms a soft, smooth dough. Set aside to rest for a few moments.
- Divide the dough into 2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (be generous with the flour).
- Spread or dab 125g of soft butter/marg onto the dough and fold into thirds. Press lightly around the edges to make sure the butter/marg stays inside the envelope. Place this dough in a plastic bag or wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.
- With the final remaining 250g butter/marg, mix in a generous pinch of cream of tartar.
- Working with your first batch, roll out on a floured surface again. Roll in one direction to form a longish oblong. Spread or dab 125g of the cream of tartar butter/marg and fold into thirds again (pinching off the sides again). Wrap and chill for a further 15 minutes.
- Repeat this with the other batch.
- This pastry can be used immediately or frozen. Before use I like to roll it out and fold it into to thirds a couple of extra times to ensure maximum layers and puff.
A special thank you to Nelie Strydom for this recipe!
Crisp cinnamon pastry biscuits
- 1 batch puff pastry refer to recipe section for recipe or use pre-made
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon mixed with sugar
- Roll out the pastry to 5mm thickness and trim to a rectangle.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously on top of the pastry.
- Roll the two sides towards a central line to make a scroll shape.
- Slice the scroll into 1cm slices and place on a baking tray and press flat to maintain the shape.
- Bake for 10 - 15 minutes in a hot oven 220°C until golden and crisp.
Pear and Frangipane Tartlets
Simple dessert that works with pretty much any fruit
- 140 g butter soft
- 100 g caster sugar
- 140 g ground almonds
- 2 ml almond essence optional
- 1 batch puff pastry refer to pastry section for recipe or use pre-made
- 6 pears thinly sliced
- 25 g flaked almonds
Prepare the Frangipane
- Mix the soft butter, caster sugar, ground almonds, and almond essence if using
- Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thickness and cut into tartlettes. Spread almond paste over each pastry shape.
- Arrange the pear slices beautifully on top.
- Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake in a hot 220°C oven for 10-15 minutes. The pastry should be puffed and crisp and the nuts lightly browned.
- 250 g flour
- Pinch salt
- 250 g butter cold
- 175 ml iced water
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
- Cut off about ⅓ of the butter and rub into the flour
- Make a well in the centre and add about ⅔ of the water. Using a fork mix this mixture well together and once it starts to form a dough, add the remaining water if you think it is necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
- Turn this dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (2-3 minutes).
- Roll this dough out into a square about 2cm thick.
- Place the butter between two pieces of grease proof paper and bash it with a rolling pin to flatten.
- Place the flattened butter in the middle of the pastry and fold all the corners inward around the butter like an envelope.
- Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface in one direction only to create a rectangle (2cm thick). Brush off any excess flour and fold into three, towards the middle.
- Turn the pastry 90° and repeat. Wrap up the pastry again and leave to rest in the fridge for a further 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process a further 2 more times at least.
- Once all your rolls-and-folds have been completed you can wrap up the pasty and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months (to defrost simply remove from the freezer and leave in the fridge overnight to defrost before use).
- Roll out your pastry for use (about 5mm thickness) shape and place in fridge before baking.
- Brush with egg wash if a dark colour is desired.
- Bake in a hot oven (200-220°C) until golden brown and cooked through.
Puff pastry is extremely useful and versatile. By doing the many “rolls-and-folds”, you should have created a dough that has many, many thin layers. When the pastry is heated the water inside the dough expands and the flour and butter cook to create a pastry that will rise very high (5-10 times its raw height). Puff pastry is best when baked from cold or even frozen. So cut out your pastry shapes well in advance and then place your baking tray in the fridge for an hour or two before baking. Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg to give it a more golden colour. When using leftover pieces of pastry don’t scrunch it up as all the layers/structure will be lost, rather lay off cuts on top of each other and re-roll. But do note that off cuts don’t rise as high. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56nHTmINFVo