Chinese Puff Pastry

Chinese Puff Pastry

Ingredients for water dough

  • 1 cup (128g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup water

Ingredients for butter dough

  • 1 cup (128g) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cold butter

Since Chinese puff pastry is a laminated dough, that means that we’re essentially trying to make layers of butter and dough, so that when the butter melts when baking, it creates those beautiful layers. Chinese puff pastry is a little bit lighter than other kinds of puff pastry. That’s what gives egg tarts and other flaky Chinese desserts that signature light and buttery mouth feel.

Instructions

  1. First, let’s make the water dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, egg, salt, and water. Using a dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed until it comes to a smooth ball (about 7 minutes). On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle (about 1/2 inch in thickness). Cover with a paper towel or wrap this water dough rectangle with cling wrap and refrigerate.
  2. Now, let’s make the butter dough. Cut the butter into small cubes. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour and butter. Using a dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed until it comes to a smooth ball (about 5 minutes). On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle (about 1 inch in thickness). This butter dough rectangle should be about half the size of the water dough rectangle. Also, if the butter dough seems too soft and sticky, place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. Now let’s assemble the puff pastry. Take the chilled water dough rectangle and place it on a floured surface. Place the butter dough rectangle onto the right half of the water dough rectangle. Then, fold the water dough on top of the butter dough, and press the edges to seal together.
  4. Taking a rolling pin, gently roll out and flatten the sealed combined dough rectangle (about 1/4 inch in thickness, but if it’s thicker, don’t worry about it too much).
  5. Then, take one of the shorter ends of the dough rectangle, and fold a third of it up. The other shorter end of the oval should then be folded to meet top of the other end of the dough. Basically, you’re folding the oval in thirds, just like an envelope.
  6. Now to create even more layers, flip the dough over with the folds facing down. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and do the letter folds again.
  7. Again, one more time, flip the dough over with the folds facing down. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and do the letter folds again.
  8. Finally, flip the dough over again and roll it out until flat. You’re done!

Chinese Puff Pastry can seem intimidating, but it’s so worth the little bit of extra work to make your pastries super flaky. It’s actually easier to work with than the other kinds of puff pastry in my opinion, since you’re working with a butter dough, instead of straight up butter. Also, the best part is that it’s super versatile! Even though most people will probably use this recipe to make egg tart shells, you can make flaky Chinese BBQ pastries, hand pies, or even fry them. Try it out and let me know how it turns out in the comments below!

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