There are few things that compare to homemade puff pastry, with its flaky layers and buttery flavor. But it’s a time consuming process–creating hundreds of layers of dough and butter that bake up into that flaky texture. In this episode, you’ll learn how to create a similar effect with a shortcut called rough puff pastry–which puffs up to great heights in half the time. You’ll then learn how to turn that puff pastry into a pear tart with creamy hazelnut filling.
With classic puff pastry, you wrap a sheet of dough around a slab of butter, and then roll and fold it repeatedly to create all the layers, with lengthy rests in between. With rough puff pastry, you cut the butter into the dough, kind of like you would for pie dough.
|Pear-Hazelnut Tart in a Puff-Pastry Crust||Mixed-Berry Jalousie||Honeyed Fig and Goat Cheese Tart||Apple Galette with Ginger Glaze|
Mixing the Dough
Start out combining your flour with a little bit of salt in a mixing bowl, then begin cutting in the butter-you can use a pastry cutter or two blunt table knives. The idea is to get the butter well distributed and coated with the flour, but still maintain these distinct chunks. The butter chunks are bigger than you’d have in a pie dough, because you want to maintain layers of pure butter in between the layers of dough. As the butter melts in the oven, it creates steam, which causes the dough layers to puff up.
Next, add a 1/2 cup of very cold water and continue cutting until the dough just barely hangs together. It’s important not to overwork the dough, because you want to minimize the amount of gluten that forms-gluten will make your dough tough, not tender.
The First Turn
At this point, your dough barely even looks like dough, but that’s exactly what you want. Flour the countertop a bit, and turn this dough out onto the counter. Pat it into a rectangle, and then roll the rectangle out until it’s 6 x 18 inches.
Now it’s time to do a series of rolling and folding moves like you would for classic puff pastry: this is how we create the layers. First, fold both short ends of the dough in towards each other, so they meet in the middle. Fold one half over the other half so you have a 4 x 6 inch rectangle. This is called a double book fold. You’ll notice the dough is already much smoother.
Turn the dough so the seam is on the right, then roll the dough out again into a 6 x 18 inch rectangle. Now repeat the same folds one more time. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, put it in the fridge, and let it chill for 20 minutes.
After the dough has had a chance to relax and chill, you’ll give it one more turn: put the seam on the right, roll it out to 6 x 18 inches, and make one more double book fold. Even though the dough has gone from shaggy to smooth, it should still have visible flecks of butter.
Now cut the book crosswise into two rectangles, and give it a good chill for at least 2 hours, then it’s ready to use in your tart crust.
Savory Puff Pastry Tarts
Rustic Rosemary Tarts
Sun-Dried Tomato Tart with Fontina & Prosciutto
Asparagus, Goat Cheese & Bacon Tart
Feta & Dill Galette with Lemony Spinach Salad
Simple Provençal Vegetable Tart
Abigail Johnson Dodge is a contributing editor at Fine Cooking, and teaches cooking classes around the country. She studied at La Varenne in Paris, and worked with Michel Guerard and Guy Savoy, specializing in pastry. She has written six cookbooks, four of them about baking, including The Weekend Baker, winner of the IACP award. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
Other episodes in this series
|Episode 1: Press-in Cookie Crust Tarts
||Episode 2: Equipment Essentials for Pies||Episode 3: All About Pie Dough|
|Episode 4: Rustic Fruit Galettes||Episode 5: Double-Crust Apple Pie||Episode 6: Single-Crust Pecan and Pumpkin Pies|
|Episode 7: Pâte Sucrée and Lemon Tart||Episode 8: Lattice-Topped Mixed Berry Pie||Episode 9: Rough Puff Pastry Tarts|
|Episode 10: Classic Fresh Fruit Tart|