Let's focus on the beautiful story here: Young girl goes to pastry shop, eats palmiers, has life-changing food experience. As the girl grows, she searches out palmiers in other cities (Paris, New York, Montreal etc). Her love of the delicate, flaky, home made puff pastry (aka pate feuilletee) persists. Sometimes though, to be honest, she finds the bakery product inferior. Too tough. Not enough caramelization.
Girl reads lots of foodie books (she hates that word, btw) and feels that making homemade puff pastry seems insanely challenging. She avoids it for precisely 39 years. Whereupon she reads an amazing post at Canelle et Vanille (she can't link to it specifically because when you compare those photos to hers it will be too painful for her ego). It inspires her the way only gorgeous photos can. Plus, she has really bad PMS and any chance of a pound of butter in something one can eat in one sitting is wholly irresistible. She starts by using store bought stuff and, happily - counter intuitively, the finished product is lovely and professional. She takes no photos because the speed with which she consumes it is legendary. She feels like an impostor, using store bought crap to make beautiful pastry. She gets bold, culls 6 different recipes from 6 different chef-like books and blogs, and gets to work. 8 hours later, she produces these from scratch:
Yes, my friends, that girl is me.
OK, I can tell you exactly where I went wrong. It wasn't in the making of the dough - which BTW was much easier than I expected if just as time consuming. It was in the final roll out. If you'd like to talk about the ins and outs of pastry making, feel free to email because - seriously - I can get with that. You could also check out my 8000 tweets on this topic. Satisfying reading!
The thing is, when you make your own pate, it's much more expansive (with an "a") than the frozen, pre-made kind. It's also much less happy to roll out right after it's gone through an extensive, day long, roll and turn process. I think it would have been better to let it sit in the fridge overnight and done the baking a day later. Another possibility is that I just didn't roll it as carefully, given it's elastic / spring back texture, as I should have.
Oh, and then I overcooked it - just by moments, but that was enough to cause near disaster. Again, the store bought stuff cooks at a much higher temp before browning. Must be the vegetable oil vs. butter composition.
It is ABSOLUTELY delish though. Though entirely hideous, I think it's up there with the tastiest puff pastry I've ever had. Of course, this might be because I inhaled it, as fresh as could be, right out of the oven. Or because I'm very invested. Then again, I might just have a future as a pastry chef :-) OK, let me work on it.
PS: I started with a small volume of dough because I had no idea how it was going to go. In future, I will definitely make 3 times this amount. Because, if I'm going to spend all day rolling butter between a galette, I want enough to freeze it for later.
PPS: For a good tutorial on making the dough, check out Joe Pastry. This guy really knows what he's doing!
*My apologies to all French people. Seriously, I gotta figure out how to add the accents into my French words...