|1.Sieve the flour and salt into a basin. Add the cooking fat and using
the finger tips , rub into mixture. sprinkle over the water and with a fork ,mix
quicklyto a rough dough that leaves the sides of the basin clean. turn the dough out on to
a floured working surface and knead thoroughly to get a smooth dough. Place the
dough in a polythene bag and put in a cool place to rest for 30 minutes .
2.Cut the butter in one piece from an 8oz (225g) block. Make sure the butter is at room temperature and not cold from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the butter with flour and lightly flatten the butterto a neat oblong shape. Roll the rested dough out to a stripabout 1\2 inch wide than the butter on each side and long enough for the ends to fold into the centre over the butter and slightly overlap. Place the butter in the centre and fold the pastry over to enclosed the butter completly. Press the three open edges to seal.
3. Give the dough a half turn clockwise so that the sealed edges now face the top and bottom. Press the dough acrossseveral times to half flatted it out and then roll with short sharp strokes . Never rill the length of the pastry otherwise you force the air bubbles to break the surface. Keep the corners squareand avoid rolling the dough too thinly otherwise the formation of layers of fat and dough will intermingle and spoil.
4. Roll the pastry out to an oblong about 3 times as long as it is wide. Mark in three. Fold the bottom third up over the centre third and the top third down over both. Seal the edges with a rolling pin and give a half turn clockwise. The pastry has now had one roll and fold. Roll out the pastry and fold once more, then place the pastry inside a polythene bag and put to rest in a cool place for 20-30 minutes.
5. Give the pastry two more rolls and fold. Then cover and rest again. Finally another two rolls and fold- a total of six. Wrap and store in a cool place until ready to use. Prepared puff pastry will keep well in the refrigerator for 2- 3 days. It must be wraped in foil or placed in a polythene bag to prevent the surface drying.
6. A useful trick of the trade is to impress the fingertips in the dough to indicate how many rolls and folds it has had. It is so easy to forget. After the first two rolls and folds mark with two fingers, and so on until the pastry is finished when it should show 6 imprints.
7. Avery hot oven (425F. 220C. Gas mark 7) is the correct temperature for puff pastry. Recipes using this puff pastry will need a wetted baking tray. The high fat content and baking temperature causes this pastry to scorch quickly and a wetted baking tray helps to prevent it.
8. Freezer note: Raw puff pastry dough freeze well. Freeze in 8 oz quantities ready for use. Allow to thaw 1-2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.