Basics: Rough Puff Pastry

Image of pie topped with rough puff pastryYou can buy very good pre-made all-butter puff pastry from the supermarket these days but when I was growing up that wasn’t an option and my mum would make this. It’s a quick flaky pastry, or rough puff, which is really very good.

The hands-on prep doesn’t take long at all, but you do need to be able to revisit the dough every half an hour for a couple of hours over the course of a morning or afternoon.

Try it as a pie topping, a pasty wrapper or as my mum did, for her home-made sausage rolls.

Basics: Rough Puff Pastry

  • Servings: makes about 400g
  • Print

Image of butter being grated into flour


225 g plain flour

Pinch of salt

175g butter, frozen

6-8 tbsp cold water

Squeeze of lemon juice


Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Grate the frozen butter into the flour, dipping it into the flour as you grate to keep the pieces separate. Then mix the two together with your fingertips but DON’T rub it in.

Image of pastry rolled to correct sizeAdd the water and lemon juice and mix to a soft dough with a table knife, keeping the bits of butter intact. Turn it onto a floured surface in one big lump but don’t knead it.

Roll it into a rectangle three times as long as it is wide. Don’t overwork it – it should look marbled with butter. Fold the bottom third into the centre then fold the top third down. Gently press the edges to seal and give the dough a half turn to bring the sealed ends to the top and bottom.

Repeat the rolling, folding and sealing and press your thumb into the pastry to make two marks to indicate how many times you’ve rolled and folded it. This is really helpful if you’re busy doing something else and you’ve lost track. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Image of pastry with thumb prints

Repeat the rolling, folding and sealing twice more to make a total of four times, making an extra thumb print and chilling each time.

It will keep in the fridge for two or three days or can be frozen for a month. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back up to room temperature and bake in an oven pre-heated to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 (unless otherwise indicated in your recipe).

Image of pie ready for the oven

21 thoughts on “Basics: Rough Puff Pastry

  1. Something I still have to tackle on a quiet weekend (dry cough) but Linda, what kind of pie is it? Looks delicious, just the thing for a murky day like this and there should be a pretty blackbird pie vent somewhere in the house.
    Nicole xx

    • Thanks, Jane, me too! I live in fear of it getting broken as I’ve had it for years and newer versions are more clunkily modelled. Time for another eBay visit!

    • Thanks, Conor. As discussed elsewhere, so much good ready-made available now that even professional chefs don’t bother half the time. But useful to know how. Lx

    • Nowt wrong wi’ that lass (I have no idea why I’m attempting a Yorkshire accent, perhaps because my mum was born oop north). I use bought puff 99.9% of the time. But there’s so much mystique around puff pastry and rough puff is so easy, I thought it was a good recipe to have up one’s sleeve, so to speak. What’s going in the pie? Is it (whispers) courgette? 🙂

      • *hurl*. I finished off another plant yesterday with a pitchfork but two are still going. One is spreading its nasty mildew to my beloved chard though, so it’s not long for this world.

      • Ooh, can’t be having that! Mine have got mildew AND white fly. It’s hard to remember I fell on them with cries of joy at the start of the season.

  2. I hate asking questions when I am so out of my element but…Can this also be used as a bottom crust for a fruit tart or something? Interchangeable in any recipe calling for puff pastry in any way?

    • Pretty much interchangeable for anything using puff but I’d be wary of using it in a fruit tart, Chip, as you could end up with the dreaded soggy bottom, unless it’s a flat open tart without much liquid. Not really suitable for the base of a deep-dish fruit pie. You can pre-cook tart bases made of puff so that they’re flat and crisp as in a galette (so you can top them afterwards) by cutting out thinly-rolled circles, brushing one side with oil, baking at 400F for 15-20 mins, flipping over, flattening and cooking for 5 mins more. Hope this helps! Linda.

  3. Your finished dish looks fantastic, Linda, and I admire the skills required to make you own puff pastry dough. That’s so not me, I’m afraid. My use of a rolling pin borders on tragic and I only do it on rare occasions. That’s undoubtedly my problem: I don’t do it near enough to become competent.

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