Puff pastry can be tricky to work with and needs to be treated with care and respect to ensure good results. By following a few simple guidelines you can have perfect puff pastry every time.
The keys to ensuring that you get crisp, flaky layers from your pastry are concerned with temperature and handling. Pastry should be at room temperature for rolling (to make it more pliable), but chilled before baking (so the buttery layers remain separate). A hot oven allows the layers to rise, but needs to be monitored to prevent burning. When handling, a floured worktop is essential, as is a sharp knife for cutting to shape. Overworking will make the pastry tough, but leaving the pastry too thick will make it hard to cook all the way through.
Here we give a guide for rolling and cooking puff pastry on its own; if using it as part of a recipe (for example in a pie), you may need to alter the cooking instructions according to the recipe but the preparation principles remain the same.