Puff pastry is my favourite dough to make. Classic puff pastry – which calls for butter to be spread between layers of dough, then repeatedly rolled out and folded six times, to create many layers – takes several hours to make because the butter/dough block needs to rest between each “turn”. The results, if it’s made correctly, can be ethereal.
Rough puff, also called blitz puff, takes much less time, about 90 minutes, and only about 20 minutes of that is active work – the rest of the time the dough is resting in the fridge. Of course, after making the dough you still need to let it rest in the fridge before rolling it out for whatever recipe you’re using it in, but the quality is so much better than any commercial puff pastry. While rough puff isn’t as nicely layered as classic puff, it’s still flaky and light.
Rough puff pastry
If you’re making this in the summer, make the kitchen as cool as possible: crank up the air-conditioner, if you have one. If the butter starts to melt at any time in the process, refrigerate the dough/butter until it solidifies.
A metal dough scraper makes it easier to lift the dough from the work surface, at least in the beginning when the ingredients are crumbly and dry.
If you like, double the ingredients and make a larger batch of puff pastry. When it’s ready, cut the block of dough into two even pieces and wrap them separately. Refrigerate one block for immediate use and freeze the rest for later.
250 grams cold, unsalted butter
225 grams plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for rolling
¾ tsp fine sea salt
60ml ice water
Cut the chilled butter into 24 roughly even chunks then put them on a plate and freeze for about 10 minutes.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl and mix to combine. Put the chunks of slightly-frozen butter into the bowl and mix so the butter pieces are coated with flour. Transfer the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and mix briefly, until the butter pieces are about the size of a hazelnut. Add the ice water and pulse for a couple of seconds, then turn the mixture onto the work surface. The mixture will not be cohesive at this point – it will look crumbly and dry. This is fine; do not add more water.
Use your hands to lightly press the crumbly, dry dough into a rough rectangle that’s about 30cm x 15cm. Use the dough scraper to lift up the top third of the rectangle and fold it in towards the centre. Use the dough scraper to lift up the bottom third of the rectangle and fold it in towards the centre, so you have a block of dough that is in three even layers. Give the block of dough a 90 degree turn to the right. This is your first “turn”.
Again, use your hands to press the dough (which will still be uneven and crumbly) into a 30cm x 15cm rectangle and as before, lift the top third over towards the centre and the bottom third over that, then give it a 90 degree turn to the right. That’s the second turn.
By now, the dough will start to be cohesive, although there will be streaks of butter and a few dry spots. Lightly dust the work surface with flour, place the dough on top, then sprinkle flour over the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 30cm x 20cm rectangle, then fold it into thirds. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Give the dough two more turns, rolling it out to a 30cm x 20cm rectangle, using just enough flour so it doesn’t stick to the work surface or rolling pin, and giving it a 90 degree turn to the right each time. Wrap the dough with cling film and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
Give the dough its sixth and final turn: roll it out to a 30cm x 20cm rectangle, fold into thirds then wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for an hour or longer before using.
I used home-made Alphonso mango jam for this photoshoot, but use whatever jam – commercial or home-made – you prefer. Check the jam’s consistency – if it’s runny, simmer it to thicken before using it to fill the turnovers.
About 350 grams jam of your choice
1 batch of rough puff pastry
Icing sugar, for dusting
If the jam is soft and runny, put it into a saucepan placed over a medium-low flame. Heat until the jam is simmering then stir constantly until it’s thick but not rubbery. Cool it to room temperature, then refrigerate.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle that’s about 30cm x 45cm. Trim the edges of the dough slightly, so it’s about even. Starting at one long side, roll the dough tightly until you reach the other long side. Put the “snake” of dough seam-side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Cut the dough roll into 16 even pieces. Place most of the dough back in the fridge and work with only one or two pieces at a time. Place a piece of dough with a cut side-up on the work surface and roll it into a circle that’s about 10cm to 11cm in diameter (it’s easiest if you use a small rolling pin). As you finish rolling out the circles, lay them, slightly overlapping, on a parchment-lined baking tray. When you finish rolling out all 16 circles, put the tray in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Whisk the egg.
Very lightly brush egg over the edge of half the circle of dough (if you use too much egg, the edges won’t adhere when you press them together later). Put a spoonful of jam in the centre of the circle then fold it in half and tightly press the edges together. Crimp the edges to seal in the filling, then place the jam turnover on a parchment-lined baking tray. Finish filling, sealing and crimping all the turnovers and lay them on the tray. Very lightly brush egg on the turnovers, then use scissors or a knife to cut a slash on top.
Bake the turnovers at 220 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 200 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat to 180 degrees. Continue to bake for five to 10 minutes, or until the turnovers are golden brown and fully cooked – they will be fragrant and firm, and will lift easily from the baking tray.
Cool the turnovers slightly before serving. Dust them lightly with icing sugar then serve warm or at room temperature.