The rains have started. We’ll probably have a couple more sunny days, but mostly it’s Fall here. Our mountains won’t turn red and orange, they’ll stay a blackish green, but the tops will fall under a fog. Even though it’s still warm now, it will be sweater weather soon. As much as I love summer, and I still have a small vacation to take, I’m looking forward to the cold. The cozy feeling of watching the rain fall with a cup of tea in your hands. The gentle scratcing of wool scarves at your neck. New boots.
The time of year to take things a little bit slower, and to make pastries by hand.
This is my absolute favourite kind of dough to make, I remember my mom teaching me as a little girl. Gently breaking up the butter with my hands and kneading the dough were two of my favourite things as a kid. I have since made it hundreds, if not thousands of times in my life. It is the kind of pastry that normally takes a few tries to get right, but this little trick- curtesy of the Tartine Bakery Cookbook- in which you roll the butter, makes all the difference.
I like to call this dough a rough puff pastry, it’s not quite as light as a puff, but it’s not far off, and while the method is closer to a pie dough, it’s much flakier and crisper than that. I rarely have the energy or patience for puff pastry, and almost any recipe that calls for it gets this instead. I use it for pies, tarts, cookies, savoury tarts, mini cinnamon buns. Nearly anything that calls for pastry, you could use this. It’s the ultimate pastry in my books.
Rough Puff Pastry
2 cups AP Flour
1 cup Butter, unsalted, cut into cubes
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup Ice Water
On a clean flat surface sprinkle the flour and salt.
Break the butter apart into the cubes and toss to coat them in the flour.
With your rolling pin begin to roll the butter out. It will stick to your rolling pin and the counter but don’t worry. Use a pastry scraper, or a spatula and scrape the pastry off. Then keep rolling.
Push the butter bits from the outsides in to make sure all of the butter has been rolled into thin strips.
Pour about 1/4 cup of water on top of the flour mixture and, again using the pastry scraper or spatula, fold the dough on top of it’s self.
Add more water, a couple table spoons at a time, and keep folding the dough over, pushing it down, and folding it again until some flour remains on the surface but it’s holding together. It shouldn’t be sticky to the touch but it shouldn’t be falling apart either.
Keep folding the dough, pushing it out, and folding it again. This is putting the layers into your pastry that will make it so light and crisp.
The dough should be soft to work with, as soon as you start to notice it resisting your touch stop.
Wrap with plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least an hour. I usually make two batches and keep one in the freezer, so I always have some on hand.
It will last 2 days in the fridge, or a month in the freezer.