Puff pastry

Puff pastry

French Lessons
1.2 kg
20 mins
Steve Brown

The word feuillettée means ‘many-leaved’, which perfectly describes a good puff pastry. It should be golden brown, light as a feather, delicate and flaky – a multi-layered triumph. In traditional puff pastry a flour and water dough – the détrempe – is used to encase a block of butter. The whole thing is rolled, turned and folded, rolled, turned and folded with meticulous precision to achieve the many layers. True puff pastry is a challenge even for accomplished pastry chefs, so for home-baking I use a simplified version, known as a ‘rough puff’.


Quantity Ingredient
500g firm butter
500g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
pinch salt
250ml water, iced


  1. Remove the butter from the fridge 1 hour before using so it is firm but not rock-hard. Cut into small cubes. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Place the butter and salt in the well and use your fingertips to rub it into the consistency of coarse sand.
  2. Add the water, a little at a time, and work it into the dough gently until it comes together as a firm dough, flecked with small bits of butter.
  3. Place the pastry on a lightly dusted work surface and roll it out away from you to form a long rectangle, about 20 cm x 40 cm x 5 mm thick. Fold the 2 short ends in upon each other to make 3 layers.
  4. Rotate the pastry a quarter-turn (90º) and roll it away from you again to form a long rectangle, the same size as before. Fold into thirds again. This is the first ‘double turn’.
  5. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat the ‘double turn’ as described, then chill again for 30 minutes before using. Alternatively, the pastry can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for 2 days, or up to a week in the freezer.
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