Sweet rough puff pastry dough

Used for tarts, tartlets, pies and even cookies

Oct 14, 2018
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Sweet rough puff pastry dough is used for preparing different desserts: tarts, tartlets, pies and even cookies. This dough is made from the basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs and flour. After baking it, you'll get a sweet crust for your tart or pie, or wonderful cookies.

Where does it come from?

Some of my acquaintances have never heard about this dough, others have cooked tarts and quiches for a long time. They believe that this dough is not from Russia, but they are under the delusion. Rough puff pastry duff has been widely known in Russia since XVIII century while yeast dough has become popular only in the end of XIX century. Although rough puff pastry dough was forgotten, now it is popular again, and it seems to me that the Internet has played an important role in this process.

Which products do we need?

Flour
The more protein can be found in flour, the more gluten is produced in the process of cooking this dough. Firstly, gluten absorbs moisture so you need to add more liquid and the dough becomes rougher. Secondly, gluten absorbs oil so the final product becomes less puff. Use wheat flour, it contains only 10-12% of protein while bread flour contains about 13-15% of protein.
You also should pay your attention to grinding. If you use coarse grinding flour, you will need much time and liquid for making the dough. Anyway, it's better to use whole grain flour as the baking turns out to be more rough.

Unsalted butter
Its main functions:

  • adding flavor to the final product,
  • preventing an excessive production of gluten,
  • creating "layers of fat", which will make the puff pastry.
All of these functions help to make a crunchy and soft crust. The butter for this dough should be cold.

Sugar
It's better to use small sugar or even powdered sugar so that it will dissolve and will not crunch in the teeth. Its main functions:

  • adding sweetness (obviously :),
  • preventing an excessive production of gluten,
  • make the dough golden brown.

Eggs and other liquids
Eggs and liquids for this dough should be cold so that the butter won't melt when you mix these ingredients together. It's better to add 1-2 tablespoons of milk or water (you can also use any other liquid like juice, sour cream or alcohol) to the eggs.
This dough contains sugar and butter, which prevent an excessive production of gluten - the dough becomes too thin and delicate so that the eggs help to "glue" it together. You may prepare the dough without any eggs but it will be much harder.

Salt
It's used to enhance the flavor of other products. Salt enhances tastes of other ingredients but is also helps to balance the sweetness without being perceptible.

Flavorings or "what should I add to the dough in order to make it more delicious?"
It's possible to flavor the dough in different ways: you may add a zest, cocoa, any extract, such as vanilla, coconut flakes, cinnamon, nuts and even dried fruits. If you decide to use nuts and want to bake cookies, fry the nuts without oil, cool and chop them finely before adding to the dough. If you cook a crust for a tart, it's not necessarily to fry the nuts - they will easily fry in the process of baking. The dough with the nuts and dried fruits are suitable for baking cookies, so you may roll the dough thicker.

Ingredients:
The proportions of flour, butter and sugar here is 4:2:1, with this knowledge you can cook any amount of the dough.

  • 200 grams (1 cup + 3 heaped tbsp.) flour,
  • 100 grams unsalted butter,
  • 50 grams sugar (1⁄4 cup),
  • 1 large egg,
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt,
  • (optional) 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract.
    This dough will be enough for cooking a pie crust in 27 cm. baking dish.

All the ingredients should be cold.

"Some more boring theory" or "May the force of the layers of fat be with you, Luke!"
It's important not to mix the butter together with the flour until smooth. The butter should stay in small pieces, each of which is covered with the flour. When you roll the dough, these pieces are flattened out and the layers of fat are made, so that when you bake the dough these layers are heated and they let off steam. It's the steam that doesn't let the dough split into layers and the fat doesn't let them stick together. You mustn't forget that at each stage all the ingredients should be cold.

The process:
Making the dough:
  • in a large bowl mix together flour, sugar and other dry flavorings like a zest if you use it,
  • mix together the cold butter and the dry mixture - you may grate the butter, use a blender or chop the butter with the dry mixture,
  • in a separate bowl, combine the egg, vanilla, salt and other liquids using a fork (all these ingredients should be cold as well),
  • create a dimple in the crumbs of flour and butter and fill it with the egg mixture,
  • knead the dough briefly trying not to crash the pieces of the butter,
    If the dough is heated, you should cool it off - place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough:
The process is similar to pate sucree dough.
  • dust the counter and rolling pin lightly with flour,
  • gently lift and turn the dough slightly after every couple of rolls, dust lightly with flour if anything sticks, it will prevent the dough from sticking to the counter,
    Note: if the dough is cracking as you start rolling it out, allow it to sit at room temperature for a few more minutes;
  • roll the dough out to about 1/8" of an inch thick,
    Note: work quickly - dough shouldn’t get too warm, if the dough is getting too warm or become too soft to work with - place it on the floured baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator;
  • once the dough is rolled out - place the tart shell onto the dough and cut around, leaving about an inch or so,
  • remove the tart shell and the excess dough,
    Note: the leftover dough can be pushed back together and used for another time;
  • gently lift the dough and place it into the tart shell,
    Note: dough is very forgiving - don’t worry if it tears, you can easily press the dough together,
  • press the dough into the base and along the sides and pinch the dough over the edge of the tart pan to form a thicker wall,
  • poke the base of the dough a few times with a fork,
  • place the shell onto a tray and into the freezer or refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to ensure the dough is very cold prior to baking.
How should you bake the crust: separately (blind baking) or together with the filling?
  • If the filling of a pie or a tart doesn't need to be baked, then you need blind baking.
  • If the filling of a pie or a tart is liquid, the dough will be wet so the crust is baked in advance.
  • If the filling is thick, you don't need blind baking.
Baking the crust for a pie or a tart (not for lazy people):
The process is similar to pate sucree dough.
  • preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF),
  • remove the shell from the refrigerator and place a piece of parchment inside each one,
  • fill with dried baking beans or pie weights and flatten the beans slightly to ensure the base and sides are evenly weighed down,
  • place the tart shell into the oven and bake for about 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden,
  • once shell has started to set - remove it from the oven and remove the beans, dough should look like it has started to cook and set and the edges should also looks a bit golden,
  • place the shell back into the oven and continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown,
    Note: for even browning, you can rotate the tray during baking, if the edges are getting too dark, when the base looks undercooked - place a piece of parchment over top;
  • once done, place onto a rack to cool completely.
Baking the crust for a pie or a tart (for lazy people):
  • preheat the oven to 200º C,
  • remove the dough from the refrigerator and place a piece of parchment over top, press it,
  • place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 25 minutes,
    if the edges are getting too dark, when the base looks undercooked - place a piece of parchment over top;
  • once done, place onto a rack to cool completely.
But what if I want to bake cookies?
  • preheat the oven to 200º C
  • place the baking tray with the cookies into the oven and bake for 15 minutes,
    Don't wait until cookies become golden brown.
  • once done, place onto a rack to cool completely.

Storage:
Shape your dough as a rectangle and use plastic wrap to wrap it.
If you want to use the dough soon - place it in the refrigerator. Here the dough can be stored for a week.
If you want to use the dough in the future - place it in the freezer. Here it can be store for 2 weeks.

Chef, we have a problem...
The dough is too soft and sticky – the butter has melted or you have added too much liquid. What should be done? Add some flour and place the dough into the baking dish by hands, pressing it down with your fingers.
The dough crumbles and it can't be rolled – you have added very small amount of liquid. What should be done? Add 1 tablespoon of liquid.
The crust has swollen – you haven't flattened the dough, so you need to pierce the bubbles and gently press the dough while it's still hot.
The baking is rough – if you use whole grain flour or high protein flour, then it's an obvious result. But if you use wheat flour, it means that you have added less butter then it should have been added, the butter has melted, you have been kneading the dough too long. What should be done? Give it to your co-workers, they'll eat everything, then try to cook it one more time.
The baking is too dark at the edges but the base looks undercooked – the oven is too hot. What should be done? Activated carbon is a good thing, but it's better to utilize your culinary masterpiece and next time be more attentive and don't forget about the right temperature range.