Puff pastry should be light, golden and crispy. This can only be achieved by ensuring that at all times the pastry is handled and treated correctly. Temperature of the pastry is very important. It must be kept cool at all times during the making process otherwise the fat in the pastry will start to melt/soften and brake down the layers that have been created in the making /layering stage. It is these layers that give you the lightness and characteristic "puff".
Certain puff pastry products do not require so much "lift" i.e flakiness ,Sausage rolls are an example. This means we can use a 3/4 puff or a full-puff with a small proportion of scrap/trimmings included.
Of course there is some very good ready made puff pastry available to purchase and ideal if you are in a hurry, are have never made puff pastry before but remember the maxim "you only get what you pay for"
The quality of ready made pastry varies considerably, we recommend you read the ingredients list to see what is actually in the product. A lot of manufactured puff paste, contains fat with a high melting points. If fat melts above 38C ( 98F) body temp it wont "MELT IN THE MOUTH". This is why you get a "waxey cling" in the roof of your mouth, escpicially after eating cold puff pastry.
Also some commercial puff pastry will contain "Lifting Agents" in the ingredient list. The only thing that top quality puff pastry should contain is Fat, preferably butter, Water, Flour and plenty of TLC. Lemon juice ( ascorbic acid) and salt are sometimes added
Sausage Rolls (makes 8 cocktail buffet size)
8oz (220 g ) Puff Pastry.
4oz (120 g ) Sausage Meat.
- Roll out the pastry to 2.5mm (1/10 in) in thickness and into a rectangle 25cm x 16 cm (10in x 6in )
- Cut the pastry into two strips 8cm (3in) wide.
- Divide the sausage meat in half, giving you 2 x 2oz (2x 60g).
- Using a little flour as dust, roll out to form 2 ropes the length of the pastry 25cm (10in).
- Lay these in the centre of each strip.
- Wash with water between the two rolls of sausage meat to dampened the edge of both strips of pastry.
- Starting with the strip nearest to you, fold over and press the edges firmly together.
- Repeat with the other strip.
- Using a thin rolling pin ( mine is made from a wooden broom handle) press into the joint of each strip.
- Bring the two strips together and lightly brush of any surplus flour using a dry wash brush or cloth.
- The strips now have to be cut into four. Cut the strips in half and then in half again or if you have kept the length to 25cm into 6cm (21/2 in) giving you 8 pieces.
- Egg wash the two strips.Then, using the back of a knife, mark the surface ,alternatively using a sharp knife cut (nick) the surface.
- Place the 8 pieces onto a clean or baking parchment lined baking tray, avoid touching the eggwashed surface as much as possible, you may find using a broad bladed knife (palette) ideal for this.
- Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes in a cool area.
- Bake in an oven 230C, Fan 210C, 450F, gas mark 8. approx 25 minutes, until crip and light golden brown in color. This time may vary according to individual ovens.
Note: If larger sausage rolls or a bigger amount are required you will have to increase the pastry and sausage meat proportionaly.
The amount shown above could produce 6 rolls by dividing the 2 strips into 3 or for even larger rolls divide the 2 strips in half and you will produce 4 large rolls. The main thing is to keep the proportions of meat to pastry constent. Too much meat will actualy spoil the end product.