Rough puff pastry is remarkably flaky, but can be made much easier and faster than full puff pastry. It’s made more like pie dough. I like to use it for galettes and other freeform pies, and it makes a truly epic chicken pot pie—but it can also be used like puff pastry in any of your favorite recipes. The tightly wrapped disks of dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using. Adapted from my forthcoming book, The Book on Pie (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020). —Erin Jeanne McDowell
In a medium bowl, stir the flour and salt together to combine. Add the cubes of butter, tossing them through the flour until each individual piece is well coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers, flattening them into big shards. As you work, continue to toss the butter through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces. The goal is to flatten each piece of butter only once, leaving the pieces very large (they will get smaller/more dispersed through the process of folding the dough).
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the ice water to the well and, using your hands, toss the flour with the water to start to mix the two together (this begins to combine them without creating too much gluten). As the flour begins to hydrate, you can switch to more of a kneading motion—but don’t overdo it, or the dough will be tough. Then add more water, about 1 tablespoon (15 grams) at a time, until the dough is properly hydrated. It should be uniformly combined and hold together easily, but it shouldn’t look totally smooth. Divide the dough in half and form each piece into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thick (the exact size/shape of the dough doesn’t matter here, just the thickness). Brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush, then fold the dough in half. Fold the dough in half again into quarters. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 15 to 30 minutes, until firm.
Repeat the previous step three more times: rolling out the dough, folding it, and chilling it each time before continuing. If you work quickly, you can sometimes do two rounds of folds back to back, but if the dough is soft or sticky, don’t rush it.
Once the final fold is completed, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and preferably 1 to 2 hours before using.
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.