Puff pastry is used in dishes such as steak and kidney pie, sausage rolls, apple turnovers and the classic French dessert, mille feuille, meaning “thousand leaf” for its many layers of flaky, buttery pastry. Making puff pastry from scratch is a time-consuming exercise, but ready-made puff pastry can be found in the freezer section of most supermarkets. A few handy hints will give your puff pastry the lift it needs to rise to any occasion:
- Work with chilled pastry on a cold, lightly floured surface and handle your pastry as little as possible (don’t bunch scraps together and roll out again as the layers will break and the pastry will not rise).
- After rolling, chill the pastry for 15 minutes before baking.
- Brush the edges of pies or turnovers with egg wash and press together to seal.
- Always bake in the centre of a preheated (180ºC – 200ºC) oven.
- For instant cheese straws, bake thin strips of twisted puff pastry topped with grated Gruyère, Parmesan and cayenne pepper.