By now, you probably have the basic Pâte Brisée under your belt, both figuratively and literally, and, if you use the recipe we give (from Bouchon Bakery), you know that it tastes great, is nice and flaky, and easy to make and handle. Basically, it’s a perfect pie crust; we use it often. But, once you’re using it all the time, what do you do when you want to make an extra-special pie, say for a holiday, and you want a crust that goes to eleven? Hmm. A quandary, but we can help!
Now, when you make Puff Pastry, you know that you need to set aside the better part of a day. All that rolling out the dough, folding, chilling. It makes a great pastry dough. One that really can’t be beat, but what if you could get most of the benefits of puff pastry — the lightness, the flakiness — with far less work? Would you jump on it? Of course.
So, fellow scratchers, let’s make some Quick Puff Pastry. It’ll take 40 minutes from the time you start to when you can use the dough, and it’ll be nearly as flaky as puff pastry, too.
We based this recipe on the one in Pie It Forward, by Gesine Bullock-Prado, who, as far as we’re concerned, is the undisputed Queen of Confections.
Makes 1 pound (enough for two 9-inch pie crusts)
Wow! Four ingredients, and all common. Use unsalted butter, of course. With such a small amount of salt, don’t sweat it if you don’t have kosher. While we give volume measurements, we suggest that you might want to weigh these to keep the proportions the same. That is, if you have a scale; otherwise, wing it. You’ll still be light-years ahead of those people who buy pre-made crusts.
Procedure in detail:
Sorry about the colors; we made this late in the evening, and those pesky fluorescent bulbs throw everything off, color-wise.
Prepare ice water. Place a couple of ice cubes in a measuring cup, then fill with water. Presto, ice water. Measure it out later, when it’s cold. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Mix dry ingredients. Get out a large mixing bowl, about 3 quarts in size, measure in the flour, add the pinch of salt, and swish it all around with your hands. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Add butter. Cut the sticks of butter into tablespoon-size portions as you add it to the flour mixture. Get your hands in there and rub that flour into the butter, until you’re left with pieces about the size of a dime. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Add water. The water’s chilled, so measure out the right amount and pour it into the flour-butter mixture. Reach in with your hands and knead the dough until it just holds together. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Rest. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto your work surface. Press into something that resembles a rectangle. It will be messy and may not stick together. Don’t worry. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Roll and fold. Take a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a rectangle about 15 x 8 inches. Pieces will come off; just stick them back onto your dough. Use a bench knife or dough scraper and fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third of the dough up, just as if you’re folding a doughy letter. Turn 90° so the narrow side is close to you. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Roll and fold a second time. Repeat the previous steps. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
And a third. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
And a fourth. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
Chill. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes before using. Who knew pie crust could be this easy?
For quite a while, we avoided making this quick puff pastry. Why? We thought it would take much more time, and be harder to work with. Instead, it’s only a few minutes of work and the dough is supple, easy to roll and shape. Everything you want in a crust. And is it flaky? Absolutely, super flaky. Almost as flaky as a croissant. We used it as the crust for pumpkin pie (make sure to pre-bake it for about 20 minutes for maximum flakiness) and on top of a pot pie. Yummy! Five stars.