Puff pastry consists of flaky layers of crispy bread. The flakiness is achieved by alternating layers of water-based dough with butter-based dough. Baking creates steam pockets that separate the layers. Sugar is not used.
Mix 1/4 cup of flour with 14 tablespoons of cool butter to make a smooth paste. Shape into a square approximately 1/2 inch (1-1/2 cm) thick. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Separately, mix the cold water, 2 tablespoons of butter, and the remaining 1-3/4 cup of flour (some recipes add 1/4 teaspoon of salt). Knead for about one minute. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Refrigerating the dough relaxes the gluten and makes it possible to roll the dough without breaking it. On a lightly floured board, roll out the water-based dough to a thickness of 3/8 inch (1 cm). Place the butter dough square on the water-based dough and wrap the ends of the water-based dough to enclose the butter dough in an envelope. Roll out the dough envelope to 3/8 inch (1 cm) thickness and fold in thirds like a business letter.
Roll again in the opposite direction and fold in thirds again. Refrigerate 30 minutes and repeat the process twice for a total of six foldings. The secret of good puff pastry is to work the dough while cold to prevent the butter and water-based dough from mixing thus retaining the layered structure.
After refrigerating once more, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 in (3 mm), cut into 4 inch (10 cm) squares, place a spoonful of fruit preserves in each square and fold diagonally, pinching at the edges to create turnovers. A richer golden color can be obtained by brushing the pastries with egg before baking. Bake at 400° F (205° C) for approximately 30 minutes until lightly browned.