Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rough Puff Pastry

Easy to make, rough puff pastry instructions.  So much better than store-bought!

Do you ever go through phases where you watch the one television show you’ve just discovered, marathon style, whole seasons at a time, until you are all caught up?  Don’t try to tell me it’s just me because I don’t believe you!  Bunch of liars.  Yeah, well, now I don’t want to talk about it.

Just kidding!  Maybe I should have started by saying I am not a fan of reality television.  So much of it seems scripted or rehearsed or, at the very least, theatrically designed to cause controversy.  And if you know me at all, you know that I can’t bear to hear or watch people fighting.  So I avoid reality TV.  But, a few months back, a friend told me about The Great British Bake Off.  A BAKE OFF!  So I found it online.  It appeared to be genuine people, real home bakers, vying for the title of best amateur British baker.  The judges were none other than the queen of baking, Mary Berry and dashing bread guru, Paul Hollywood.  Each episode meant three challenges for our bakers.  The first was a signature bake where they used a tried and tested recipe of their own devising.  The second was a technical challenge posed by the judges.  And the third and final challenge was what they called The Showstopper.  Here the home bakers pulled out all the stops to impress the judges with their knowledge, techniques and decorating abilities.

Hooked by the drama, I watched the entire third season in just a couple of days.  It’s amazing the housekeeping chores and laundry - washing, folding and ironing - a person can get through with a good show to watch!  A few times during the season, the contestants were called upon to make something I had never heard of:  Rough puff pastry.  It is sort of like real puff pastry but you just mix the butter through the flour in cubes, instead of one big block, and there was minimal, relative speaking, rolling out of the dough.  I have been meaning to make and master real puff pastry for a very long time but had never gotten around to it.  (Read:  I was lazy but mostly chicken.)  But rough puff looked do-able. And so we commence.

I used this recipe from Gordon Ramsey, whom I love, shouter though he is.  I just can’t watch his shows.  Give me soft-spoken, with a glint in his blue eyes, Paul Hollywood any day.  Like Kenny Rogers before he got crazy with plastic surgery, right?

Photo credit BBC Two - Host profile

2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons or 250g butter, cold
About 2/3 cup or 150ml cold water

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Cut the cold butter into small cubes.

Add them to the bowl and cut in loosely with a pastry blender.

Not too fine, though.  You want to still see bits of butter.  Gordon wanted me to use my hands but it’s hot, hot, hot here in Dubai and, even with the air conditioning on, the kitchen is really too warm for this sort of pastry.   So I used a pastry blender.

Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed.  (I did not.  If you are working in a colder climate, you might need it.)

Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.  (Longer if you are in a warm climate.)

Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle.

Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width.  Keep the edges as straight and even as you can.  As you can see, I didn’t do so good with that step.  Never mind, it all turns out all right.  Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.

Fold the bottom third up to the center, then the top third down and over that.

Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length.

Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes before rolling to use.

And that’s it!  It actually was very easy.  And the best part was that it puffed up most successfully in the oven.  Also, unlike store bought puff pastry, I knew exactly what had gone into that lovely crust.  Butter and flour and salt.

Stay tuned tomorrow for when I’ll make a pretty tomato and olive tart out of my rough puff.   (That’s a sneak peek in the first photo and again here below.)

So flakey!  So delicious! And actually very easy. 

Get mixing and rolling, lovely people!  Meet you back here tomorrow with your rough puff chilled and ready to bake. 


  1. This is wonderful! I refuse to use anything processed, prepackaged or pre-made, but puff pastry was the one thing I still used (Dufour, all butter, but still....). So happy to have this recipe, will be one of the first things I make in my new home!!!!!!

  2. I haven't been able to get the all butter one here, Susi, so I really have been wanting to make puff pastry. Goodness knows what they use in the other stuff! It's so hard in hot weather though. Even with rough puff, it's good to have the air turned down low. Wishing you many blessings in Florida!

  3. Ooooh it looks so rustic and flaky and mmmm!!!

  4. Too funny - I did exactly the same thing with the Great British Bake Off. It's a great show - the contestants are just normal people who have a passion for baking. Unlike some other shows, they are picked on their ability and not their personality -Australian Masterchef is terrible it's no longer about the food. I can only get puff pastry in one solid block in Shanghai so this is definitely an option for me.

  5. I pretty much do that with every tv show I watch! Never heard of the Great British Bake Off...wonder if I can find all the episodes on line.

    Your puff pastry baked up beautifully!!

  6. Thank you! Glad to hear I'm not the only one, Joanne! I found them all online at a website that seems to have gone out of business or changed its name. But I am sure they are still floating around the interwebs somewhere.

  7. I used to watch Australian Masterchef when we lived in KL. I especially enjoyed the children's one. But I think you are right. It's gotten more about their personalities and personal interaction than the food.

    Do try this! It was so much better than what I can buy here too.


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