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26 April 2010

gluten-free rough puff pastry

I have made a lot of puff pastry in the last month.

When I first went gluten-free — 5 years ago this week — I thought that I might never eat bread, pasta, or in a restaurant again. I certainly never thought I would eat puff pastry again.

Of course, before I went gluten-free, I had never made puff pastry by hand. Why should I? There are sheets of it for sale in the freezer section of every grocery store. If you can eat gluten, recipes that call for puff pastry are so easy. But making it myself? That seemed like something for a pastry chef. Not for me.

In the past month, I have made so many batches of puff pastry that I have lost track of how many. 8? 10? I don't know. A lot.

And boy, have I learned.

I have learned that the dough for rough puff pastry should not be a smooth easy ball when I first pull it out of the food processor, like pie dough. It shouldn't be so wet with butter that the dough gloms onto the rolling pin as I try to work with it. I have learned to not roll over the edges of the dough as I am doing turns, to give it the best chance of puffing and making layers I can. I have learned what the word turns means in puff pastry. I have learned to work with cold dough and cold hands and a cold rolling pin, if I can. I have learned to put a tart dough made out of puff pastry back in the refrigerator before I bake it, so the butter doesn't melt all over the pan.

I have learned to live with the imperfections of this. I have to learned to love puff pastry.

I have learned that after I publish this recipe, I don't want any more puff pastry for awhile.

It's your turn.

learning the process

Over the last six weeks of making puff pastry at least 3 times a week, I have been guided by wise voices.

My friend Helen and I collaborated on this, via email and in person. She came up with an extraordinary gluten-free puff pastry, made in the traditional manner. If you haven't seen it yet, you must click on that link and try her recipe. Helen is not only a pastry chef, but she's also a patient friend, listening to my questions about butter and ratios and rolling out dough. I can't imagine undergoing this entire process without her.

My friend Jeanne, of the blog Four Chickens, made an incredible-looking gluten-free puff pastry recently too. Have you seen her vol au vents? Her step by step tutorial was so helpful to me. Also, if you have never been to Jeanne's blog, you should know that she's an incredible gluten-free baker and kind woman. Go on over to make one of her cakes.

My friend Ashley made an incredible little video on making traditional puff pastry. I must have watched it a dozen times in a row one night, trying to figure out the process. She's another pastry chef. Why not learn from the best?

However, each of those beautiful women were making traditional puff pastry, with a dough and a big block of butter to work into that dough. It's really not that hard to make traditional puff pastry — I don't want to give you that impression. It's just that Helen and Jeanne had already done it. I wanted to make something different, something a little quicker.

Rough puff pastry.

from rough to ready to roll

Rough puff pastry is just that. It's rough. It's not nearly as refined as traditional puff pastry, but it's also not quite as fussy. (And I have learned that most pastry chefs are making rough puff pastry for restaurant service, it seems.) Don't think, however, that you'll pull this recipe for rough puff pastry together in 15 minutes. This takes time. It's a project. This is not the food to make when you are rushing to put dinner on the table.

If, like me, you enjoy a challenge and the feeling of taking nothing but flours and butter, with a little water, and making magic? You're going to want to make this rough puff pastry.

I found Molly Stevens' guide to making rough puff pastry on Fine Cooking incredibly helpful.

"When teaching how to make rough puff pastry, I've found that the only tricky part is getting my students to believe that the crumbly pile of butter, flour, and scant water will actually become a smooth, workable dough. The temptation is to add more water to bind the dough, but excess water would only make the dough tough."

Well okay then! Rough and imperfect and even ludicrous looking? I can do that!

Every evening, I was studying recipes and learning techniques, from Ashley's take on quick puff pastry, and Gordon Ramsey's rough puff pastry recipe, and a professional pastry chef's take on puff pastry at British Larder. This post at Kitchen Musings on how to make rough puff pastry showed me that I didn't need the thousand layers to make puff pastry beautiful. I could do this.

I dove in.

For awhile, I was using variations on Michel Roux's rough puff pastry recipe, courtesy of Helen. They worked. Most of the photographs you see here are of doughs and treats made with those recipes. I quickly learned that I don't like tapioca flour in puff pastry — too soft — and I definitely don't want the bean flours in there. And after a couple of batches of puff pastry that left the Silpat dripping with butter after baking, I realized that gluten-free puff pastry requires less butter than the traditional. That was big.

After one attempt after another, based on French recipes or ones I found on the internet, I felt like I had the feel of rough puff pastry. It really is rough when it begins. Look at that top photo. It's barely more than an assemblage of flours and butter, marginally held together with ice water. How is that going to become something I can roll out?

It does. Trust me. The first few batches of puff pastry I made began as smooth balls of dough. They ended as overly wet, leaden pastry, with only the faintest hint of layers. It was only when I switched to making this in rough fashion that I started to see air in my pastries and crunch in my teeth.

Then, David Lebovitz's new book, Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes, showed up in the mail. Oh, David. You save me again. The book is phenomenal (we'll tell you more about it soon). I trust David with all things pastry. He has a recipe for rough puff pastry that uses 2/3 all-purpose flour and 1/3 whole wheat. This appealed to me, since I like to use a combination of starches and whole grain. I fiddled with the flours and the calculator until I found what I liked.

I found my recipe. And now you have it too.


some of the foods you can make with puff pastry

Now, we can eat palmiers and beef wellington and salmon en croute and chicken pot pies around here. (And oh, have we been. Glad that's coming to an end, actually.)

In fact, most of the treats we have enjoyed these past few weeks were ones I baked late at night, for the dinners I share with Danny at 10 pm. I threw in the photo of salmon en croute for you here, even though it's in that hellish yellowy light. The rest we'll leave up to your imagination.

apple turnovers

With gluten-free rough puff pastry, you can make apple turnovers to surprise your love when he comes home.

"Oh baby!" Danny told me when he saw these. He kissed me for five minutes after the first bite.

savory palmiers

Once I had the hang of this — after failing and laughing and being frustrated and finding my way only by doing it again and again — I realized how easy this is. Time. Patient hands. Good butter. The right flours. Waiting.

Then, there were savory palmiers with mustard, cheddar cheese, and black pepper. Lu chomped on these on the back porch on a sunny day, for a snack, then asked for more.

I certainly never thought, when I first had to go gluten-free, five years ago this week, that one day I'd have a child who would eat palmiers made from my gluten-free puff pastry. I sighed when I heard her say, "Yumma!" This is, in the end, why I do this.

puff pastry dough, ready to go

Now you can too.

Soon, you can have gluten-free puff pastry dough like this, waiting in the refrigerator. Make up some palmiers or a quick tart for lunch, or apple turnovers. (I'm pretty sure you could use this dough to make homemade pop tarts, too.) Pot pie. Ah, the sound of chicken pot pie.

If you are recently gluten-free, and you feel like the world is closing down on you, think again. Anything is possible.

Start baking.



Gluten-Free Rough Puff Pastry, adapated from David Lebovitz's Whole Wheat Puff Pastry recipe from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes

It begins as butter chunks and flour, then ends as a pliable dough, ready to go. It's magic. Truly.

Now, it's yours. You'll notice I have suggested substitute flours in the recipe in case you cannot eat one of these. Bake by weight and you'll be able to play.

Play and let it be imperfect. Don't expect to be good at this the first time. I promise you — this is a project you will master eventually. Allow yourself time in front of the kitchen counter, more than just once. And then let me know how it goes.


345 grams (3/4 pound or 1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks) unsalted butter
137 grams (4 7/8 ounces or 3/4 cup) potato starch (or tapioca flour)
137 grams (4 1/2 ounces or 1 cup) cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
52 grams (1 7/8 ounces or 1/3 cup) superfine brown rice flour (or sorghum)
52 grams (1 7/8 ounces or 1/3 cup) superfine sweet rice flour (or millet flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
180 ml (3/4 cup) ice water

Prepping the butter. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. (I slice each stick into tablespoons, then cut each of those in half.) Arrange them on a plate, making sure they are separated. Put the plate in the freezer until the butter is frozen, at least 1 hour.

Combining the flours. Mix the potato starch, cornstarch, brown rice flour, and superfine sweet rice flour together. Whisk the flours together to aerate them. (I like to whirl the flours in the food processor for a few moments, to fully combine them.) Add the xanthan gum, guar gum, and salt. Stir to combine.

Making the rough dough. Put the combined flours in the bowl of a stand mixer. (This batch was too big for my standard-size food processor, or I might have done it there. You can also do this by hand, with the help of a pastry scraper.) Add the frozen butter. Now, this is where you're going to think that David Lebovitz and I are crazy. When you turn on the mixer, on the lowest speed, the butter will fly and your stand mixer will sound like it is suffering. Keep going. Turn it off and on a few times until the edges of the butter pieces have started to soften. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the ice water and turn on the mixer again. Let it run until the flours have absorbed the water. This dough is going to look crazy ragged and unfinished, like the first photo in that collage up there.

Rolling out and turning. Pour the dough onto a Silpat or piece of parchment paper about the same size as a Silpat. Knead it together with your hands for a moment or two, just enough to bring it together.

I like to put a piece of parchment paper on top and roll this out to a rough rectangle, with a rolling pin. (Aim for roughly the size of a piece of notebook paper, with just a bit more length.) You might like to pat it down with your hands. Roll from the center outward, going both ways. Take care not to roll over the edges. Go gently. At the end of this first rolling session, the dough will look like the photograph in the top-right-hand photograph in that collage up there.

Gently, using the edges of the Silpat or parchment paper, fold the bottom third of the dough toward the middle, then fold the top third on top of it. Eventually, this will look like a book. Right now, it might be hard to distinguish the folds from each other. Have faith. Proceed.

Rotate the dough one-quarter turn to your right (clockwise). You have now completed one turn.

Again, roll out the dough to roughly the same size as a piece of notebook paper, with just a bit more length. Go gently. This will take your biceps and your patience. In these early turns, you're going to think this is impossible. Keep going. With each turn, the dough will become smoother and more cohesive. Once you are done rolling, fold the bottom third up, and overlap the top third over it. Try as best you can to align the edges.

Rotate the dough one-quarter turn to your right (clockwise). You have now completed two turns.


Follow the same process, rolling carefully, then turning, until you have completed four turns. Believe it or not, by the time you are done with the fourth turn, the dough will look like the photograph in the bottom right-hand corner. (I cut the ragged edges off in that one, to make a nice neat rectangle. You don't have to do that.)

Wrap the folded dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Finishing the dough. Pull the puff pastry dough out of the refrigerator. Generally, I let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes before working with it again, since it will be hard from the cold. Don't let it sit out too long, however. You want the dough to be cold but pliable. Complete the fifth and sixth turns, following the same procedure as above. Wrap the dough in plastic again and refrigerate for at least another 2 hours.

And there you have it. Rough puff pastry, gluten-free.

This batch makes enough for 2 large tarts or 1 beef wellington or 2 salmon en croutes or dozens of little palmiers. Experiment. You'll find your way.

This dough does well in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month.












54 Comments:

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Josh of Magic Bean Farm said...

Can't wait to try this one out!

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger frantic foodie said...

the impossible has been done

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Diana said...

Wow. I have to try this. Those apple turnovers look divine.

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger Callista said...

So excited. I'll be making chicken pot pie this week. <3

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger jenn said...

yumma! like mama and yumm... so cute!

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Dr. Jean Layton said...

Thank you, thank you, Thank you!
Can't wait to make some palmiers with ginger sugar.
And chocolate filled puffs,
And cheese straws
and...

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Jessica Feely Photography said...

OH MY DEAR GOSH!! I cannot wait to try this out on my husband!! Hooray!! It looks divine! THANK YOU!

 
At 3:53 PM, Anonymous tweet said...

Many thanks for this recipe ;-) Can't wait to bake with it !

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Nancy @ The Sensitive Pantry said...

Lovely! I was excited when I saw Jeanne's recipe for traditional puff pastry. Now this! It's a double miracle. I'm thinking this could be used to make pain au chocolat. I hope so!

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Cegoodner said...

My 11 year old (future pastry chef) daughter and I are making this right now. . . can't wait to see how it turns out. Thank you for all your work on this recipe!

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Mara Rose Gaulzetti said...

Now, if this post is not the motivation to get home and bake then nothing is!

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous GF PATISSERIE said...

Amazing. You did it. Congratulations from an adoring fan.

 
At 5:09 PM, Anonymous sarah said...

You amaze me, Shauna. Excellent work. Go you.

 
At 5:10 PM, Blogger Gray said...

Thanks so much for sharing!! It sounds delicious!! I can't wait to make a dish that calls for puff pastry...my gluten free husband will be so surprised to find out he can eat it this time. :)

 
At 5:26 PM, Anonymous abbie said...

wow, what a lot of research! Thank you, thank you.
Before my GF life I used to make croissants from scratch. The turns I did were a bit different, and your butter technique is certainly different. I like the "messy." It sounds intriguing.
This puff pastry looks right for empanadas too.
Where do you purchase your super-fine flours? I can't wait to try this one. Thank you!

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Iris said...

I love you for coming up with all these recipes for us!

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens if you don't use the xantham and guar gums? I usually use gelatin in my baking- but that is in wetter things.

Thanks for all your great ideas and recipes!

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

Um, hello? You are the wind beneath my wings.

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

This could be Baklava... it could be Napoleons... it could go on top of French onion soup...

First rugelach, now this.
What do you do for an encore?

(hopefully sleep very soundly)
-xo-N.

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger Cegoodner said...

So my daughter and I made it into chocolate croissants tonight . . . amazingly good. Can't wait to make more!

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger katherine said...

Shauna-

I promptly went home this evening and made this! I haven't baked it into anything yet, but it's looking like real phyllo dough. The water was too much for what I did, so I ended up flouring my silpat and adding a bit more flour.

I also used the food processor in two batched and had far smaller pieces then what your photos show, but it seems to have worked ok!

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger Kate Morin said...

I have, in fact, just gone gluten-free. And I have, in fact, felt like the world is closing in on me. This just made my night, and I will definitely be trying it soon!

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger mthood said...

I've been thinking about puff pastry for a while... now I have no excuse not to make some.
How do you feel about lard as a replacement for the butter? Did you experiment with any other fats?

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger haphy81 said...

what do you think the likelihood of success would be with gf rough pastry, er, made without butter and with vegan butter or shortening? sadly butter and ghee give me issues....

 
At 4:10 AM, Blogger Shuku said...

There used to be this absolutely fantastic custard danish I loved, before the gluten-intolerance. And an amazing vegetable strudel. Now I can have -that- again. Thank you SO. MUCH. I keep telling myself I should experiment more and come up with things I -can- bake now that I used to have, but I haven't got the space or the kitchen. I'm crying for joy! Thank you!

 
At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Sho said...

Shauna,

Reading your blog is like reading about "food art!"

Take care,

Shoshannah

 
At 5:17 AM, Anonymous Ina said...

Hi Shauna - Oh Mama....thankyou! I must try this....puff pastry...who would have believed there could be gluten free puff pastry! Soooo excited! Ina

 
At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each time I go to the grocery store I am drawn to the vol-au-vents. Thank you so much. This recipe couldn't have come at a better time. I love reading your blog, and I look forward to receiving your cookbook! Thank you again!

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger Sirena said...

Shauna, you're such a source of constant inspiration! Not only do you make it possible for the GF folks out there to tap into all the foods they thought they'd lost, but you make it possible for gluten-tolerant home cooks to make their kitchens a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I just love your inventiveness, and your perseverance. These golden creations look beautiful and delicious. Yumma indeed!

 
At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Laurel said...

I feel so happy right now! Thank you for doing this.
I didn't realize we'd been gluten free close to the same length of time... my 5-year anniversary comes up in August. This year I'm really going to make something special to celebrate, instead of just talking about it like I do every year! ;)
I can't wait to get your cookbook!

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger Brandon said...

This is incredible to see all the things you made with this pastry! Absolutely beautiful. I do with there was a recipe to make a gluten free pastry that wasn't so starch, though. Your site is awesome, :).

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger Sara Blackthorne said...

Do you think this recipe would work as well with Earth Balance? We're not exclusively gluten-free, but we're dairy free in this house. I'm so looking forward to trying this recipe, but hoping you have an opinion on if it will work with EB as well.

Thanks for all your hard work in creating these recipes! Can't wait for the cookbook!

 
At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Zohreh said...

The gluten free bakery by my house makes amazing croissants, palmiers, and flaky cinnamon pinwheels. I've been wondering how I'll survive when I move away from this city! Now I know! Thanks for the recipe!!

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Tracy said...

"He kissed me for five minutes after the first bite." I can't stop smiling. How sweet. :)

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Jessmeca said...

I cant wait to try this recipe for myself, but i have a question for you Shona. My sister and mother are both milk protein allergic as well, have you experimented with any dairy free butters / margarine's if so which would you suggest i try?

Thanks again
Jessmeca

 
At 10:47 PM, Blogger EponaRae said...

Do you hear that sound? It's the "Happy Food Dance" tapping out around the world! Thank you <3

 
At 6:17 AM, Blogger :: K :: said...

*Tears*

Chicken Pot Pie.
Palmiers.
Turnovers.

Shauna Ahern - you're my hero.

 
At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

You are my superhero. I have been just saying that I wanted to master gluten free puff pastry, and voila! You appear and save me. Thanks so much.

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger Cocoa said...

do you think this would work for Baklava?

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Window On The Prairie said...

I haven't made any pastry in a long time. I will try this out.
Suzanne

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Bri said...

This is awesome! I love it!

 
At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Julia said...

Thanks! I just celebrated my 12th anniversary of going gf. What a good way to celebrate! I have the same question about gfcf rough puff...I am sadly just recently trying to eliminate dairy from my diet. Lard sounds good. What about coconut oils?

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger Breanna said...

this looks delicious! like some others have asked, any suggestions on dairy-free? I was thinking palm shortening, I may just give it a shot....thanks!

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Does anyone have a good recipe for Palmiers? I've tried just using a regular one, but it dosnt port well.

Thanks, and great recipe

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger maggiesavage said...

Yay! This is such a gift to your readers. Thank you so much. I love that you try and try and try. You perfect it for us! And I am so happy that there are no eggs in this. I can make it for my kiddies. Spanokapita here I come!

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Hey everyone, I'm so happy that you are happy with this. Hearing about you making it successfully in your kitchen has made me over the moon.

Now, to answer some questions.

Abbie, you asked where we purchase our superfine flours? Authentic Foods sells packages of them. But we also buy our flours from Bob's Red Mill and grind them even finer in our Vita Mix.

Anonymous, the xanthan and guar gums help hold it all together. Without them, I imagine the dough just wouldn't be cohesive. I don't know. I always use them!

La Nina, baguettes.

For all those of you who wondered about doing this without dairy? Oh my. I don't know. Butter is so integral to this pastry. However, I once thought gf puff pastry was impossible. So why not? I just don't know what works best. I imagine some combination of really high quality leaf lard and Earth Balance's fake buttery sticks might work.

And for those of you want to make baklava, remember that is phyllo dough, as is spanikopita. Croissant dough is an entirely different dough as well. So they might be close approximations with this dough, but not quite right.

Let's all keep working together!

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Is there any reason you offer alternative flours, besides other allergies? Does it work better with rice? Or are the other choices more nutritious. I have all of them, but this looks like a lot of work to try them all out "just for fun". ;) (And you are a goddess for trying!)

 
At 11:45 AM, Anonymous monica lee said...

Shauna, I know you are a busy girl, mom and wife but do you think you could start a company and make this frozen for those of us that don't have the time and patience to do it from scratch? Plzzzz!I will design your logo free for a batch of pastry, haha!

 
At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this on Sunday so I could make salmon en croute. I think it would have been the most beautiful thing I've ever made, except that I added too much water! It's my own fault--I read the recipe and then my brain disengaged. I added more flours to help--and it did help. The dough, once cooked, tasted VERY good. I will definitely by making this again. Thank you!

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Patty said...

Thank you for the recipe. I just bought David's Lebovitz's new book as an early birthday present to myself, and OMG, I am in heaven. I plan to make one of his flourless cakes today, and will use your rough puff pastry to make an onion tart.

I also recommend the beautiful book, "French Feasts," by Stephane Reynaud. It has the most beautifuil feel, photography, drawings and stories. And, like David's book, the recipe's are simple and mostly gluten-free.

Thanks again for a great blog.

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger Claudia said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I love pastry treats specially in the winter so I will surely try out your recipe.

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger Aine said...

Thank you for the inspiration! The flours you used I couldn't get so I made up my own combination and it worked tremendously! Thanks!

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Corliss said...

Gluten Free Pastry Dough!! I'm dancing, I'm dancing. I will try to make Apple-Cheddar Palmiers. Whoa Nelly!! Thank You!!

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger liz said...

love, love, love this post!!!!! :)

thank you for all you do . . . and by the way - you changed my life and how I feel about being gluten free!! Much happiness to you and your family in the new year . . . liz

 

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