because butter is delicious, rough puff ratio

Several triangular turnovers on a baking sheet

I love ratios. I love butter. So I love that “rough” or “blitz” puff pastry is one part butter to one part flour. Add a bit of cold water and patience and you have a delicious canvas for some easy treats. (Treats such are free form tarts, fruit turnovers, cheese straws, …)

Rough Puff…

  • 12 oz flour (mostly All Purpose, but add up 2oz other flours for interest)
  • 12 oz cold butter, cut into slices
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 oz ice water

Whisk together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter. (I do this by cutting the butter into slices, then working them in with my fingers. A pastry cutter or two knives would also be useful. It can be done in a stand mixer if you’re careful to stop while hunks of butter are still visible.) Stop when the butter is incorporated in large pieces, but pea-sized bits are still visible. Add the ice water and, using a spatula or bowl scraper, mix it in gently, flattening the mixture against the sides of the bowl when stirring, rather than mixing aggressively. The desired result is a very shaggy mass than doesn’t yet look like dough.

Dump the shaggy mass on a clean, dry counter and flatten it into a rectangle. Using a bench scraper or spatula, fold the rectangle into thirds. Rotate it 90 degrees, dust with flour and use a rolling pin to make it back into a rectangle again. Fold it into thirds, rotate it 90 degrees, and repeat. Keep doing this until it comes together as a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll and fold two more times and declare it done.

To use: Roll to ~1/8 in thick. Use in any puff pastry recipe. (Like blackberry turnovers!)

Add Another Thing

Once upon a time, in a life before kids, I took a short series of cooking classes with John Ash. He’s a nice guy, with a much pickier palate than mine.

I’ve retained three things from those classes, though I only practice two of them:

  • If you blanch your basil for pesto, it will stay green rather than oxidizing. (I never bother.)
  • You can tame raw garlic (for pesto or salad dressing or …) by blanching it in boiling water for about a minute. (This one I do bother with. Tossing individual cloves in a small sauté pan in water to cover is quick and easy and does make a difference.)
  • If a dish doesn’t taste quite right, add a taste element that isn’t yet represented: sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, sour, umami.

That last one, while possibly obvious, is a trick which has saved me from a boring dish countless times. Today, it was squash soup. A simple base of sautéed onions, squash, chicken stock, a middle-eastern spice blend from a friend. This was good! But… it needed something. It had sweet, umami, and a bit of spice. I added some sherry (round and nutty, yet still counts as sour) and it was much better.

Then, of course, my 7 year old refused to even try it (though he did have several servings of salad).