Rough Puff Pastry

A little intimidating at first, making rough pastry is indeed an art. I have tried several versions and so far, this one has produced something quite acceptable ! It is very flaky and tender, the dough is easy to manage and takes a few minutes to prepare. Make sure to use All purpose flour as 00-type flour will not provide the body to rise in the oven. Also, make sure you have the best quality butter you can find. Several butters are full of water making it challenging to produce a good rise. In this recipe, I have used a combination of shortening/lard and butter. The lard gives the dough a very crispy finish and helps in the rise. The success of making a good flaky pastry lies in ensuring all the ingredients used are cold. Several chefs place all their equipment in the fridge prior to making the dough, including mixing bowls and utensils. I place the already cold butter and lard in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to making the dough. I also place a few ice cubes in the water prior to include it in the dough. If the butter or shortening start to melt, simply fold the dough and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. It is well worth the wait in the freezer to make sure everything is cold. Enjoy !
You could use butter only, but the combination of lard and butter make for a very soft, tender and flaky dough. Do not overmix and work rapidly to avoid the butter and lard from melting.

INGREDIENTS
It is easy to increase or decrease the amount of rough puff pastry – just remember the ratio of 3 parts lard, 3 parts butter to 9 parts flour. So: 2,2,6 for a smaller amount or 4,4,12 for a larger amount.
255 Gr. All purpose flour sifted
85 Gr. High quality butter cut in small cubes – I use salted butter
85 Gr. Lard or Vegetable shortening – Use a solid block, not the creamy spreading type, as it will melt during baking.
5 – 6 Tablespoons Ice cold water (I use cold water with a few ice cubes)

METHOD
Sift the flour over a medium size bowl
Take the butter and lard and stir it in the flour – Roughly mix with a knife to ensure all the cubes are covered with flour.
Stir in the 5 tablespoons water and with a knife mix the dough, until it comes together. You may have to add a tablespoon or more depending on the flour you use and / or the weather.
The key is to ensure everything barely comes together. There might be some flour not mixed in the dough, simply turn the bowl over the working surface and gather all the ingredients, forming a ball.
Flour the work surface and start rolling your dough, using a floured rolling pin, into a long rectangle – I usually go for about 20 cm wide and 40 cm long.
You will see flecks of butter and lard and that is what you want.
Fold the dough, starting with the top into 1/3 of the dough. Bring the bottom third into the middle and you will have an envelope first fold.
Rotate the dough 45 degrees and repeat the same procedure, making sure your working surface is lightly flour.
Repeat this exercise, until you have a total of 4 folds.
If you see your butter becoming greasy or coming of the dough, simply place it back in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes.
Wrap the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After the resting time in the fridge, you are ready to roll out the dough and make beautiful vol-au-vent, apple turnover or the most beautiful pie crust / quiche or cheese straws.

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