Rough Puff (Quick and Easy Puff Pastry) Recipe

This recipe changed my life, and I have Lucy Vanel to thank for it.

A few years ago, I bookmarked her fast feuilletage, an easy, fuss-free way of making puff pastry that did not involve rolling out the butter and enclosing it into a détrempe, nor did it confine you to the kitchen with incessant refrigeration steps.

A fuss-free puff pastry that does not confine you to the kitchen with incessant refrigeration steps.

Instead, her recipe merely has you cut the butter into the flour to form a rough dough, then do four rounds of rolling out, folding, and turning, like you would for a classic puff pastry, but without refrigerating the dough every time.

This means you can have a remarkably good, homemade puff pastry ready in, oh, fifteen minutes, without sacrificing flavor: four rounds are enough to create dozens* of layers of butter and flour — more random ones, yes, but just as effective — that will puff up gloriously in the oven and produce the flakiest texture.

In the comments below Lucy’s post, a reader posted a link to an LA Times article that appeared three years later, in which Nancy Silverton shared a similar method she had learned from French pastry chef Claude Koeberle, who dubbed it the rough puff.

I loved the name and was interested to review the recipe — calculating ingredient ratios and comparing methods — but it didn’t nearly attain the simplicity of Lucy’s, so I stuck with hers.

When Lucy first shared the recipe for that pastry, she immediately turned it into cheese and bacon swirls that seem absolutely irresistible, but I had other plans for it: I wanted to make an caramelized apple tarte fine. (To be continued!)

Join the conversation!

Have you ever made puff pastry? Did you make the classic kind, or take a shortcut? And what do you like to use puff pastry for?

* Because the dough is folded three times at every turn, four turns create 81 layers (3 x 3 x 3 x 3). If you want to push it to 6 turns, you’ll create an even flakier pastry with 729 layers.

Rough Puff (Quick and Easy Puff Pastry) Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Makes 325 grams (11 1/2 ounces) puff pastry, enough for one 25-to-30-cm (10-to-12-inch) tart.

Rough Puff (Quick and Easy Puff Pastry) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 125 grams (4.4 ounces) flour (all-purpose, T55 in France), chilled if you've had the foresight
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) high-quality European-style unsalted butter, chilled and diced (if using demi-sel butter, omit the salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 60 grams (2.1 ounces) ice-cold water or milk

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, place the flour, butter, and salt. Using a pastry blender, two knives, or a simple fork, cut the butter into the flour, stopping when the mixture looks crumbly but fairly even, with the average piece of butter about the size of a pea. Turn out onto a clean (and preferably cool) work surface, and form a well in the center.
  2. Cut the butter into the flour, turn out on a work surface, and form a well in the center.
  3. Pour in the ice-cold water and work it gradually into the flour and butter mixture -- I like to use a bench scraper but a wooden spoon will do fine. Knead lightly just enough that the dough comes together into a ball -- do not overwork it -- and shape it into a rough square. There will still be chunks of butter visible in the dough.
  4. Shape into a rough square.
  5. Flour your work surface lightly. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a long rectangle, about 25 cm (10 inches) in length. Add more flour as needed underneath and on top of the dough to prevent sticking.
  6. Roll out into a long rectangle.
  7. Dust the top of the dough with a pastry brush to remove excess flour, and fold the dough in three so the top and bottom overlap, dusting it again after the first fold (the idea is to avoid trapping in too much flour every time the dough is folded).
  8. Fold into three.
  9. Without chilling, turn the dough by a quarter of a turn, and repeat the two previous steps of rolling and folding.
  10. Give the dough a quarter of a turn then roll it out again.
  11. Turn it again, then roll and fold. Turn it again, then roll and fold. You'll have done this four times in total (feel free to do it 1 to 3 more times if you're having too much fun to stop and your kitchen is cool enough). Your rectangles will get neater and neater every time.
  12. After the last fold, tap the top and sides of the dough with the rolling pin to give it an even, squarish shape. Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate at least an hour before using.
  13. Cover and refrigerate.
  14. Depending on how cold your refrigerator is, the dough may be ready to roll out straight from the fridge. If it seems too hard, let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Notes

  • This puff pastry can be used for both sweet or savory recipes.
  • Puff pastry can only be as good as the butter you use for it, so now's a good time to splurge on a European-style butter with big flavor and a low water content.
  • This dough is best prepared in a cool environment -- don't attempt it while the oven is running! -- using light and quick gestures to prevent overheating the dough.
  • If you find at any point that the butter is becoming sticky, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour to cool it again.

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  • Sara Davies

    I love this! I have never attempted homemade puff pastry before because it seems so intimidating (not to mention time-consuming); I will definitely give this a try!

    I have to tell you also, I love the new website design. Well done!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you so much Sara, I’m very pleased you like it. And do report back if you try the puff pastry!

  • Swan

    This looks very doable. If the choices are breadflour (strong) or pastryflour (lower in gluten), which one should I pick? Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      How about a half-and-half mix of the two?

      • Annabel Smyth

        I would have said ordinary plain flour (as in pastry flour), myself…. wouldn’t a bread flour make the result too chewy and not light enough?

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          That was my initial impulse too, but then I thought that I myself have been using T65 flour, which is much less delicate than pastry flour, and I liked the results.

          But since I know Swan does a lot of cooking, perhaps she’ll have a chance to try different combinations and report back on what she likes best? :)

          • Swan

            last week I took a puff pastry class at the Pastry School here in Vancouver (where I take a lot of great bread and pastry classes). I double checked with the chef today on the flour.
            He explained that for puff pastry you need a strong/bread flour/high protein content (min 12%), because you need the gluten for all the rolling and stretching of the dough you do.
            We made both regular and invert puff and both turned out great. I still have to try this one (apparently also called Dutch puff pastry…this Dutchy will try!).Which one will become my to-go-to I don’t know yet, I do know I won’t go back to store bought as this is so much better. I did roll out the leftover dough from class to have my own pre-rolled sheets in the freezer!

          • Swan

            oops, sorry, I did not know that pic would turn out this big !!

          • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

            Thanks so much for sharing all of this, Swan, so interesting. And I love the idea of pre-rolling it for future use! Thank you for sharing the photo — impressive rolling skills, too. :)

  • http://betterwithlemon.com Marios @ Betterwithlemon.com

    Oh wow. I can’t wait to make this. Mine will be going on top of a chicken pot pie!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That sounds like the perfect use for it! Do you have a recipe to share?

      • http://betterwithlemon.com Marios @ Betterwithlemon.com

        I was thinking of trying this one: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/rapos-chicken-pot-pie

        Though I would add a secret ingredient that a friend of mine once turned me on to: grated lemon zest in the filling. It cuts through the richness of the crust and the filling and makes it that much more amazing.

        By the way, for butter based doughs I like to freeze the butter and then grate it over the flour using the large teardrop holes. It’s much easier than cutting the butter into the flour and keeps it in even-sized, very cold pieces.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Thanks for the link, it looks great, and I am a lemon zest fan too. Just like cumin, I think it improves just about anything it touches!

          And by now three of you have now mentioned the grated frozen butter trick, so I’m definitely trying that next time.

  • Annabel Smyth

    We made rough puff pastry like this in cookery classes at school, which I have just realised were very nearly fifty years ago now! Oh dear…..

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I wish there still were cookery/cooking classes in schools. Such a loss that they disappeared!

      • Annabel Smyth

        They have in France, too? I only had a year, but I learnt to make bread, and marmalade, and pastry (not that I am good at pastry – it needs a light hand, which I don’t have), and roux sauce. They didn’t tell us that whisked sauces have the same result and are far easier to make! But learning such things at 12 or 13, which we were, really does last one a lifetime!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Yes, sadly, though I’ll note they already had when I myself was at school.

          And yet it feels like such an obvious way to (try to) level the playing field between kids from households who cook and kids from households who don’t, which is key to their future health.

      • Boris Litovski

        I’m a Food student in the UK. They still have those classes here. It surprises me that they don’t have them in some other parts of the World

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          I should perhaps clarify that we were referring to cooking classes disappearing from the general curriculum in middle or high school.

          We do still have culinary classes for students who want a career in restaurants, etc.

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/ Mardi Michels

    I am SO making this one – I’ve been looking for a quick puff for a while now. Sold!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Do report back when you try it, Mardi!

  • dr_bombay

    would it work to freeze and coarsely grate the butter, and then incorporate it into the flour quickly?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I’m sure it would, and that would save even more time. Good idea!

  • Lucy Vanel

    Clotilde! Thanks ever so much. Hope to see you in Lyon one of these days soon.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank *you*, Lucy, for such a fantastic recipe!

  • LaCoccinelle

    For years, i have been making this pastry using Delia Smith’s method, which involves, putting the butter in the freezer and grating it on the largest holes of the box grater.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you LaCoccinelle, Dr_Bombay below was asking just that, it’s good to know it works!

  • http://arhubarbrhapsody.blogspot.com.au/ Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    This is the most exciting recipe I’ve come across in some time! I always have store bought puff pastry on hand but have never made it. I think after I made croissants I was a bit put off pastry makin, but his actually sounds simple and even more mportantly quick! Can’t wait to try it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      So glad you mentioned croissants, Lily, since I plan to try and apply this to croissant dough sometime soon! What’s the worst that could happen, right? :)

      • annemax

        Have you tried it on croissants yet? Very curious to hear how that works.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          No, I haven’t yet! I’m thinking I will use a standard recipe for croissant and use the same simplification method. There will be a post when I do!

  • Genn

    This is such a great tip!! Thanks for sharing!

    whatnottery.com

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Let me know if you try it!

  • Yoshiko Yasuda

    I cannot wait to try this. I have made puff pastry, both the classic and the inversee, over the past three years, mostly to use in galettes des rois. I do like your croissant idea, and will have to try that out. Thank you for the idea!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thanks Yoshiko, do let me know if you try it!

  • http://arhubarbrhapsody.blogspot.com.au/ Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    I recently used this recipe to make a “Fresh Fig, Thyme & Goats Feta Tart”. I’ve blogged the delicious results but just wanted to thank you again for sharing such a fantastic recipe!

  • http://thebreadloaver.blogspot.nl/ looa

    Absolutely trying this. I made a large Quiche over Xmas with pre-made pastry dough. As I don’t read Dutch I’d accidentally purchased puff pastry and only realised when it was cooking away in the oven. It tasted great, if not so solidly held together, and I’d love to make it again and on purpose this time!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Ha ha, love the story of accidentally buying the Dutch puff pastry. Live and learn, right? :) Do report back if you make this one!

  • Cerelia

    Thank you so much! This dough saved us when we wanted to bake a brie but forgot to buy frozen puff pastry sheets! It was so easy, and I have no experience at all with making dough of any kind. =D Thank you!!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I’m so pleased, thank you Cerelia, and well done!

  • website

    Very nice way of making this pastry.
    candybuffetguru.com

  • Tom

    I love this recipe and will try it out next week. Can you substitute pears for apples?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Absolutely, you can! Be sure to pick pears that are ripe but not *too* ripe so their juices won’t make the crust soggy. You can even sprinkle the dough with a touch of tapioca before arranging the fruit on top to make sure.

  • DeAnna Pavlenko

    I want to make a Russian version of Napoleon Cake that requires lots of puff pastry layers and cream in between. Do you think I’ll be able to make at least 5 thin layers out of this recipe?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      What dimensions do you need your layers to be?

      • DeAnna Pavlenko

        I want to make it 8” in diameter with enough layers to make it at least- 4-5 ” tall.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          If you need five thin 8-inch circles, I think doubling the recipe should be enough. Happy napoleoning!

  • Guest

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe…can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Bakeawaywithme.com

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe…can’t wait to give it a try!

  • morgenstein

    The best puff pastry recipe and instructions to make it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you!

  • Bianca Black

    This looks soooo easy! I think you have finally motivated me to try making pastries. About the butter, is there any brand/type you particularly recommend? The one I currently have in my fridge now is President unsalted French butter. Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I generally buy organic butter from the organic grocery store, preferably the raw milk kind, but I don’t have a particular brand to recommend.

  • Hodor3

    Hodor?

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