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Sometimes, a sheet of puff pastry that I'm working on will tear or rip. Sometimes this happens when I'm unfolding the sheet of puff pastry, and sometimes it happens when I'm shaping the pastry around the other ingredients.

How can I fix rips in puff pastry to best preserve the height expansion of the pastry?

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I think it depends how fussy a presentation you are working on. If it has to be perfect, there really isn't going to be any fixing it. If some variation is acceptable, just wait til it is a bit softer and patch the rip back together like you would any other dough. You'll get less nice separation of the layers in that area.

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    Can you clarify your favorite "patch" process? I would just pinch the ripped sides together with my fingers, but I wonder if that's best. – KatieK Mar 12 '12 at 0:48
  • I'd usually take cut off a small piece of scrap and push it down over the spot. I'd rather create a little thick spot than the thin spot you get from pinching. But either way works. – Michael Natkin Mar 13 '12 at 2:16
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I don't have an answer about how to fix (and probably there isn't one satisfying answer, since breaking it means breaking lots of layers), but in case you don't already do, try warming it a bit before working with, don't try to unfold when just out of the fridge. I place it into my oven for a few minutes at minimum temperature.

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    Or simply leave it at room temperature for about 10 minutes. You'll quickly develop a feel for when it has reached a workable-but-not-too-soft texture. – Michael Natkin Feb 7 '12 at 22:48

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