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Rough Puff Pastry (Puff Pastry Cheat)

Rough Puff Pastry is a cheater’s version of Puff Pastry. It’s just as flaky, buttery, and delicious but with less work.
Servings: 2 pounds of dough
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Rough Puff Pastry

Making classic puff pastry can sound intimidating and time-consuming. From the big block of butter that is wrapped in dough and then rolled and folded to hours of refrigeration, it is one of those things that seems like it should be left up to the experts. But this rough puff pastry (or puff pastry cheat) is easy and tastes so much better than the frozen store-bought.

Rough Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry vs Rough Puff Pastry


The biggest difference between puff pastry and rough puff pastry is how the butter is incorporated. With traditional puff pastry, a slab of butter is wrapped in dough and then it is rolled and folded multiple times creating alternating layers of dough and butter. With rough puff pastry, the butter is broken into smaller pieces, layered in the dough, and then folded and rolled.

There are versions of rough puff that incorporate the smaller pieces of dough into the flour mixture using a fork or food processor similar to how pie dough is made. Our version uses grated butter that is wrapped in dough and folded and rolled so it is closer to traditional puff pastry.

Let’s Talk Ingredients


You only need 5 ingredients for this rough puff pastry – butter, flour, sugar, salt, and water.

The ingredient measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.

Ingredients for Rough Puff Pastry -Flour, Butter, Sugar, Salt

More About the Butter

Splurge for a more expensive butter. You want butter that has a higher fat and lower water content. We prefer using European unsalted butter. If you are using salted butter you can omit the addition of salt to the flour mixture.

Grating the butter. Using the large holes of a box grater, or with a food processor with a medium shredding disk, grate the frozen butter. There are pros and cons for both methods: grating by hand does take longer but there is less “butter waste” than you would get using the food processor. If using a box grater you might need to stick the butter back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes since it will begin to warm up as you grate it. Cover the grated butter and stick it back in the freezer as you prepare the dough.

Keep the butter cold. Warm butter will combine with the flour resulting in a tougher pastry without the flaky layers. Cold butter creates layers within the flour so as the pastry bakes the butter melts creating steam resulting in tender flaky layers. During the folding and rolling process, if you notice the butter getting warm and mushy, place it in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Let’s Get Baking


Are you ready to make rough puff? After making rough puff pastry you will never buy store-bought puff pastry again.

Pro-tip: Keep everything cold. Chill your bowl, bench scraper, and other tools to help keep the dough cold.

Steps 1-3 for making Rough Puff Pastry

1. Grate the Butter: Working quickly grate the sticks of frozen butter using the large holes of a box grater or using a food processor with a medium shredding disk. If the butter gets too soft place it back in the freezer for 20 minutes.

2. Toss Butter with Flour: Place grated butter back in the freezer for 10 minutes and then toss with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour until coated. Return butter to the freezer.

3. Combine Ingredients: Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add half of the frozen grated butter and toss to coat. Return the remaining butter to the freezer.

Steps 4-6 for making Rough Puff Pastry

4. Add Cold Water: Begin adding ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until shaggy pieces form.

5. Knead Dough: With your hands knead dough in the bowl to form a large shaggy dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Add an additional tablespoon of ice water to the smaller piece of dough left in the bowl and knead to bring them together.  Transfer the remaining dough to the work surface and knead a couple of times. The dough will look mostly hydrated but some dry spots will remain. 

6. Roll Dough: Lightly flour the work surface and roll dough into a long rectangle until it is about ½ – ¾ inch thick. Dust with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Tip: flip the dough over once or twice to make sure it isn’t sticking to the work surface.

Step 7 for making Rough Puff Pastry

7. First Turn: Place the short side of the rectangle so that it is facing you and cover the bottom two-thirds of the dough with half the remaining grated butter. Fold the dough into thirds by folding the top third of the dough down over half the butter and then folding the bottom third up over the top.

Step 8 for making Rough Puff Pastry

8. Second Turn: Rotate the dough 90 degrees and gently roll the dough into a rectangle again. Place short side towards you and add remaining grated butter to bottom two-thirds of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds by folding the top third of the dough down over half of the butter and folding the bottom third over the top. 

Step 9 for making Rough Puff Pastry

9. Third Turn: Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds again. This time without butter. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Chill the dough for an hour and then roll and cut as needed for the recipe. Tip: when cutting puff pastry use a sharp floured knife to prevent the layers from getting squished.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is puff pastry?

Puff Pastry is a flaky buttery pastry made from laminated dough (dough that is made from alternating layers of dough and butter). When it is baked the liquid in the butter melts and the water steams creating puffy layers.

Can you freeze rough puff pastry?

Yes, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Prior to use let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

What is the difference between shortcrust and rough puff pastry?

Puff pastry contains more fat than shortcrust. As a result, shortcrust won’t puff or separate into layers. Like puff pastry, it can be used for both sweet and savory recipes.

What are the uses of rough puff pastry?

Rough puff pastry can be used in place of traditional puff pastry. It can be used to sweat or savory tarts or pies, turnovers, galettes, palmiers, beef wellington, and the list goes on and on.

Do you poke holes in puff pastry?

Yes and no. Poking holes in puff pastry (also referred to as “docking” or ”venting ) helps prevent it from puffing up by releasing steam as it cooks. Common recipes that would require docking or venting would be when you are blind baking the pastry or making a pastry with a larger filling.

Cooked Rough Puff Pastry

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Other Recipes to Try


If you enjoy this recipe, we recommend checking out some of these:

Rough Puff Pastry

Rough Puff Pastry (Puff Pastry Cheat)

Rough Puff Pastry is a cheater’s version of Puff Pastry. It’s just as flaky, buttery, and delicious but with less work.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Refrigeration 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Foundational Recipes
Cuisine French
Servings 2 pounds of dough
Calories 1803 kcal

Equipment

  • Box Grater or Food Processor
  • 2 Medium-Sized Mixing Bowl
  • Rolling Pin

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter frozen
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice-cold water

Instructions 

  • Grate frozen butter on the large holes of a box grater.  Work quickly since the frozen butter will begin to soften as you grate.  Refreeze if it gets too soft.  Or grate butter using a food processor with a medium shredding disk.
  • Place grated butter back into the freezer for 10 minutes then toss with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour until coated.  Return to the freezer.
  • Whisk together sugar, salt, and flour in a medium bowl.  Add half of the frozen grated butter and toss to coat.  Return remaining grated butter to the freezer.
  • Add the ice-cold water to the butter and flour mixture one tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until shaggy pieces form.
  • With your hands knead the dough in the bowl to form a large shaggy dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Add an additional tablespoon of ice water to the smaller piece of dough left in the bowl and knead to bring them together.  Transfer the remaining dough to the work surface and knead a couple of times.  The dough will look mostly hydrated but some dry spots will remain. 
  • On a lightly floured work surface roll dough into a long rectangle until it is about ½ – ¾ inch thick.  Dust with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Tip: flip the dough over once or twice to make sure it isn’t sticking to the work surface.
  • First Turn: Place the short side of the rectangle so that it is facing you and cover the bottom two-thirds of the dough with half the remaining grated butter.  Fold the dough into thirds by folding the top third of the dough down over half the butter and then folding the bottom third up over the top.
  • Second Turn: Rotate the dough 90 degrees and gently roll the dough into a rectangle again. Place short side towards you and add remaining grated butter to bottom two-thirds of the dough.  Fold the dough into thirds by folding the top third of the dough down over half of the butter and folding the bottom third over the top. 
  • Third Turn: Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds again.  This time without butter.
  • Wrap dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • After the dough has been chilled for an hour roll and cut as needed for the recipe.

Notes

1. Keep it Cold: If the butter or pastry starts to get too warm during the folding and rolling stages, place it back in the freezer. Prior to baking your puff pastry make sure it’s been chilled to get those distinct flaky layers.
2. Grating the Butter: Frozen butter can be grated on the large holes of a box grater or with a food processor using a shredding disk. There are pros and cons to both. Grating by hand does take longer but there is less “butter waste” than you could get using the food processor. If using a box grater you might need to stick the butter back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes since it will begin to warm up as you hand grate it. Once all the butter has been grated, cover it and stick it back in the freezer as you prepare the dough.
3. Freezing: Rough puff pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months. Prior to use let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Nutritional Information: The nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. The nutritional value is only for puff pastry and does not include the nutritional value of anything made with the puff pastry. It does not include the nutrition for any substitutions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 poundCalories: 1803 kcalCarbohydrates: 122 gProtein: 16 gFat: 135 gSaturated Fat: 84 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 34 gCholesterol: 360 mgSodium: 840 mgPotassium: 44 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 6 gVitamin A: 96 IUIron: 2 mg
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