Note: This recipe yields enough puff pastry dough to make both of chef Cathal Armstrong's recipes that call for it; for cooking instructions, see his steak and kidney pie and his Bakewell tart.
Sift together flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir water into flour using a butter knife just until it forms a dough. If flour is not fully incorporated, you may add a little more water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, but dough should not be wet.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 1/2-inch-thick square that is roughly 12 inches across.
Place butter between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and pound with a rolling pin until butter is malleable but not soft. Then form butter into a 6-inch square.
Place butter in center of dough, turning so it is positioned like a diamond in the square. Fold each corner of dough over onto center of butter like folds of an envelope. Wrap completely with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to rest 10 minutes.
Return dough to the lightly floured work surface and roll out—only rolling lengthwise—into a long, 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Fold dough into thirds (as if folding a letter). Wrap dough and chill another 10 minutes in refrigerator. Repeat rolling dough, folding into thirds, and chilling three more times, each time rolling dough lengthwise.
When done, keep dough in refrigerator until ready to bake. The puff pastry dough will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator and it freezes well.
From the March 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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