Following an endless career in magazines—from stints at Life, People, House & Garden, Vanity Fair and a marathon at Town & Country (including along the way, a specialty in oriental rugs)—Kate Weiner finally fled the melée for pastures green and, in what can only be described as a fugue state, began to make puff-pastry by hand and to sell sweet and savory puff-pastry tarts at the Millbrook (NY) Farmers' Market. Miss Weiner's often irritating perfectionism now finds outlet in her insistence on absolute freshness and highest quality available for all she produces. All tarts are baked on the day of sale. She feels enormous affection for her customers and wonders why it took so long to find her métier.

There are 729 layers of dough and a whole lot of butter involved—and few kitchens even attempt to create it. Kate Weiner, who makes puff by hand, shares her thoughts on the practice.