Adapted from Pie It Forward
Puff pastry is called puff because it puffs! It’s true. The procedure of folding the butter in “turns,” a process known as lamination, creates alternating layers of butter encased in flour. When touched by the heat of your oven, these become puffed layers of infinite flakiness. The resulting pastry is glorious and unruly—and perfect with custards, which, at their heart, are astoundingly rich and sweet. The Quick Puff crust, with its insane buttery crispness, puts what could otherwise be over-the-top sugary creaminess in its place.
This version is called “quick” (or “blitz”) because you cut the butter into the dough instead of going through a proper lamination, as you do with Traditional Puff Pastry. You also make all the folds and turns at once instead of resting in between, as in the traditional method.
Makes approximately 4 pounds 11 ounces of dough
- 2 pounds cold all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- 1½ cups cold water
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and butter.
Massage the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers until the butter pieces are a bit smaller, about the size of a dime. Add the water and smoosh everything around with a wooden spoon or with your hands, coating the mixture with water (this gets terribly messy and sticky). Gently knead until the whole mess looks like it’s just barely holding together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a loose square.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter, where the flour will continue to absorb moisture from the water and the butter. Then roll it out gently, sprinkling flour on your work surface and your rolling pin to keep everything from sticking.
Roll the dough into a rough 12-by-20-inch rectangle. Make a single fold by bringing one short edge of the dough to the midline of the rectangle, then fold the other side over on top of the first fold—just like folding a letter (that’s why this process is also called a letter fold)! Turn the dough 90°, roll the dough out again to the same size rectangle and make another letter fold. Do this twice more, to make 4 folds and turns in total. This is a holy mess until you get to the last turn. Bits are going to plop off willy-nilly. Don’t worry. Just be patient. Shove the errant dough chunks back into the whole and persevere!
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before using.
A NOTE FROM THE SWEETIE PIE
Delicate crusts like Quick Puff often slough down around the edges during blind baking. Here’s a trick to prevent this from happening: Lay a sheet of parchment on top of your chilled dough in the pie plate; then, instead of weighing down with pie weights, stack another like-size pie plate on top. Flip the two sandwiched pie plates over onto a sheet pan and bake the crust, upside down, for 20 minutes.