Making traditional puff pastry can be a challenge. In fact, the Barefoot Contessa, aka Ina Gartner, says, “You don’t have to do everything from scratch. Nobody wants to make puff pastry!” I venture to suggest that Rough Puff might make her change her mind.

With a fraction of the effort, this rough and ready version is almost as light and flaky as traditional puff pastry. It’s ideal for topping pot pies, making small puff pastry shells or free-form pies. Give it a try. We’ll make a convert of you, yet!

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Rough Puff Pastry

Making traditional puff pastry can be a challenge. Rough Puff is almost as light and flaky with a fraction of the effort and is ideal for topping pot pies, making small puff pastry shells or free-form pies.

  • Yield: Makes two 9" pie crusts (equivalent to a 1 lb package of frozen puff pastry). 1x


  • 300 g or c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 227 g or 8 oz unsalted butter, cut into ¾” cubes, cold
  • 75 g or 1/3 c ice water


  1. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Add the butter cubes and lightly toss to coat each piece, flattening them between your fingers into large shards. The object is to flatten each one only once and recoat it with flour as you work.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the ice water to the well. Lightly toss the flour mixture with the water until the flour begins to hydrate. Then switch to a light kneading, adding a bit more water if needed, until it’s uniformly combined and holds together. It will still look lumpy, with large pieces of butter. Divide it in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disc of dough until it’s ½” thick and roughly rectangular. Brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Fold the dough into quarters and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Repeat 3 times. If you work quickly and the dough stays chilled, you can sometimes get in two rounds of folds. If the dough becomes soft or sticky, just go with one fold.
  4. When the final fold is complete, tuck the edges underneath to form a rounded shape. Wrap again in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.


Adapted from The Book on Pie by Erin McDowell.

  • Author: Helen Kain