I’ve been an avid watcher of The Great British Baking Show for the past two seasons. It’s been this avid watching that finally gave me the courage to try my hand at puff pastry. I decided to start off with trying rough puff pastry, largely because I really like saying rough puff pastry. I also like the allure of the quick and easy. I’ve wanted to make various things with puff pastry, but every time I buy it at the grocery store, it gets tossed in the freezer, things happen, and next thing I know, it’s a year later and I have puff pastry with a serious case of freezer burn. I figured if I made my own, I’d use it right away and could also make it in a batch the size I needed.
Of course, the day I decided I needed it (based on the size of the summer squash I was eyeing to make into a savory tart), it was 85 degrees in the PNW. I’ve been lamenting the lack of a summer the last few weeks, and now I think I’m going to be lamenting the return of summer with a vengeance the next few weeks. I did discover that you can make rough puff pastry when it’s very hot – you just have to be diligent about letting it rest in the freezer to keep the butter from melting between turns. I also gave it a full ninety minute rest in the refrigerator after I was done turning it, and it was just fine.
I realize I need to be better about taking photos between steps. At the very least, I will try to provide an in-depth set of instructions below. That said, here’s what the rough puff looks like when it’s been mixed and after it’s gone through the turning process.
Rough Puff Pastry
Makes a small batch – I was able to get four 4 inch by 4 inch squares out of this. It could easily be doubled.
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup cold water
Mix the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Grate the butter into the flour/salt mixture. Stir until the butter is well coated with the flour. Make a small well in the middle and add the water. Mix until all the flour/butter/salt mixture is incorporated into the water. Gently knead the mixture until you have a shaggy dough – don’t over knead or over mix.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out a rectangle about 8 inches by 4 inches. Fold the dough letter style – the top third comes down and the bottom third comes up. Turn ¼ turn. This is the first turn. Roll out again into a rectangle about 8 inches by 4 inches. Fold the dough again – top third comes down, bottom third comes up. This is the second turn. Do this process (roll, fold) at least two more times. Work fairly quickly – the butter shouldn’t start to melt all over your surface. If it starts to get too soft, throw the dough into the freezer between turns and let it firm up a bit.
Once you’ve turned and rolled at least four times, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour to rest.
I’ll be featuring various ways to use rough puff pastry over the next several months. This summer squash and goat cheese tart is the first one.