Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Inverse" Puff Pastry, or Pâte Feuilletée Inversée

Update October 2008: I just discovered I made a mistake in the recipe, and left out 200g of butter (recipe is now correct)! My heartfelt apologies to anyone who tried this recipe and failed, I hate it when a recipe is wrong...

I've definitely overcome my intimidation with regards to puff pastry. Having made this version a couple of times successfully, I then launched into Pierre Hermé's "inverse" puff pastry, or "pâte feuilletée inversée." I'm not sure what the major advantage of this over the traditional recipe is, but several sources claim it makes more delicate and even puffing dough.

Traditional puff pastry requires enclosing butter in a flour and water dough, then rolling and folding the package several times. Here it's the reverse: the butter encloses the flour and water dough. Sounds messy? It is. I'm not sure why the recipe doesn't mention how to handle this stickiness but somehow I managed, and the result was really very flaky and good.

Below is the recipe for this particular type of puff pastry, followed by some of the items I made from it over the last few months.

Recipe: Pâte Feuilletée Inversée (Inverse puff pastry)
Source: Pierre Hermé, Secrets Gourmands


For the butter block
- 375g soft butter
- 150g flour

For the "détrempe"
- 350g flour
- 15g salt
- 110g melted butter
- 1.5 dl water (150g)
(Do not use all the water at once, depending on the humidity of your flour; if the détrempe is too hard, you'll have trouble rolling the dough, if it's too wet the dough won't rise properly...)
- 1/2 tspn white vinegar

Preparing the butter block

Mix the flour and the butter until the dough forms a ball, then flatten it in a disk that is 2 cm thick, wrap in film and store for 1 1/2 hour in the fridge, at 4°C.

Preparing the détrempe

Mix all the ingredients (careful with the water). When the dough is homogenous, flatten it in a square that is 2cm thick; wrap in film and reserve for 1 1/2 hours in the fridge, 4°C.

Making the "turns"

When the two doughs have rested, remove from fridge, flatten the butter block in a 1 cm thick disk. Place the détrempe in the center and fold the arcs of the butter disk over the détrempe, sealing it fully. Start flattening this square by banging all over its surface with your fist or rolling pin. Then, use the rolling pin and starting from the center, roll genly towards the borders to form a rectangle three times as long as it is wide.

Give it a double turn (fold in four, each side folded to the middle then the whole thing folded like a book... if you need more explanations let me know, but there are lots of illustrations on the web). Turn the rectangle so the fold is on your left, press down gently and wrap in film. Place for one hour in fridge.

Then flatten the dough with your fist or rolling pin, then roll gently again into a rectangle that is three times as long as it is wide. Give it a double turn, flatten slightly, wrap and store in fridge for at least one hour (dough can stay overnight or for up to two days in fridge at this point).

The last turn is a "simple" turn, and is given shortly before you use the dough. Again roll the dough into a long rectangle, and this time fold it in three, like a letter. Wrap and let it rest for half an hour in the fridge.

When you roll it at this point you can lightly flour your work surface, but Hermé says it is better not to use flour when you're giving the dough its "turns." Which is tricky since it's the butter that's in contact with the work surface in the beginning. What helps is to keep the dough very cold at all times, and to roll between sheets of parchment paper or cling film.

Here you see how messy the beginning was. I relied on the parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking to my work surface.

The first rolled out rectangle, with all the butter cracking along the edges

Double turn: Folding the dough towards its middle before folding the whole thing in half

By now the dough is more manageable (clearly I didn't heed the advice on not flouring the work surface while making the turns)

When I look at this photo it seems I gave the dough more turns than the recipe recommends. Indeed I seem to remember that for this first attempt at pâte feuilletée inversée, I followed the recipe from the Larousse du Chocolat (also by Hermé), which has ambiguous wording concerning the number of turns one should give. However it came out well, and the next attempt as well, even though this last one definitely had only two double and one single turns (therefore 4*4*3=48 layers, a lot less than my very first puff pastry which had 729 layers!). I'm a little puzzled that I would get similar results with such a different number of turns, but I guess puff pastry is less sensitive than one would think.

Pâte feuilletée caramélisée

(Update May 2008: I provide a more detailed explanation of how to make caramelized puff pastry in this post about millefeuilles.)

This is the building block for making mille-feuilles (in English often referred to as a Napoleons), which I've never made. But the caramelized puff pastry on its own makes a delicious snack.

As far as I remember, the dough is pricked all over with a fork, sprinkled with regular sugar, chilled, then baked for a few minutes before being weighed down and baked some more. Then it is turned over and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar and baked for a final 5 or 8 minutes.

For a mille-feuilles you would want to weigh down the dough more to keep it flatter. After all that work building layers, yes, you do want to inhibit the dough's expansion. I couldn't bring myself to do it, hence the rather thick wedges of dough.

Fig and goat cheese tartlets

Recipe: Fig and goat cheese tartlets
Source: from my friend Patrice (adapted somewhat)

Take some mild, fresh goat cheese and mix it with thyme and rosemary, salt, pepper and a little cayenne pepper. Spread some on some puff pastry, add figs, add fresh rosemary, and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes.

Galette des rois

For the recipe of this galette, see here.

* * *

Recap of all puff pastry-related recipes on this blog (as of January 2008):

Puff Pastry recipes
- Traditional pâte feuilletée
- Pâte feuilletée inversée (This post)

Recipes that use puff pastry
- Galette des rois or Pithiviers first post
- Galette des rois second post and third post (This post)
- Palmiers (particularly good for using up the precious scraps of dough)
- Cheese straws or puffs (also good for scraps of dough)
- Caramelized puff pastry (This post)
- Fig and goat cheese tartlets (This post)
- Lemon millefeuille


LyB said...

I am so incredibly impressed right now, really! Making puff pastry sounds like an incredible job, but judging by your gorgeous photos, it seems worth it!

linda said...

You are my hero, making your own puff pastry! It still on my to-do list. Thanks for the info how to make flat baked puff pastry.

Thrumze of Michigan said...

wow !!!
it looks delicious.
Il faudra que j'essaie. Je suis tres curieuse de travailler cette pate "inversee".

Astrid said...

Lyb - Thanks! It's really not very hard, I promise!

Linda - No no, there's nothing heroic about puff pastry, try it and you'll see!

Claire - Dis-moi si ça marche pour toi. J'aimerais quand même qu'on m'explique en quoi cette pâte est mieux que la version traditionnelle. Certains disent qu'elle est plus facile, je ne pense pas trop, quoi qu'elle nécessite moins de tours. Mais elle est quand même très collante. D'autres (Mercotte) disent qu'elle gonfle plus régulièrement et qu'elle est bien mieux pour faire les mille feuilles que la pâte feuilletée traditionnelle. Je ne sais pas pourquoi.

Anonymous said...

This is the way the chines have made their flaky pastries for centuries, but using lard instead of butter. You can find the recipes in the Dim Sum cookbooks.

Dazy said...

It's something new to me. This recipe is really going to keep me busy in the kitchen with all its glamor. This is another must for the weekend! My kids would just hug me for this.

Airjébet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Airjébet said...

I wish the edges were cleaner. Otherwise, great job. Especially for trying it at-home. :)

ayple said...

hey man thaths increadibly cool!
one moment, can i use citric acid instead of vinegar?