Who doesn’t love a good flaky buttery pastry? With this quick three-ingredient recipe, you can have all the yummmmmm without the hours of work!
What is it used for?
Just about any kind of pastry! I won’t use anything else for savory dishes, the tanginess from the sour cream is just divine for pot pies or sausage rolls. It can also be used for your standard fruit or cream pies, and it is much easier to work with than standard pie crust dough. It just doesn’t work well for recipes that require pre-baking the crust.
This recipe makes the perfect homemade replacement for recipes that call for crescent dough. It is tastier, not processed, less expensive, and not too much more effort!
Of course, the purpose of faux puff pastry is to replace puff pastry. For some recipes that require drastic height and perfectly distinct layers, like palmiers or vol-au-vents, you will need true laminated puff pastry. However, for wellingtons, danishes, parmesan twists, and dozens of other recipes using puff pastry, this will give you plenty of volume and flakiness. Plus, with the addition of the sour cream, it’s even tastier than real puff pastry, especially the premade store-bought kind!
What does it mean to “cut” the butter?
This technique got its name because originally bakers would literally take two knives and cut the butter into tiny pieces in the flour. The purpose is to have teensy pockets of butter coated in flour rather than a homogenous mixture of butter and flour.
It sounds tedious, but it is actually a pretty good method if you don’t have any of the other tools available, and goes much more quickly than you would think. Just cross the knives and pull them through to cut up the butter over and over until you have pea-sized crumbles.
My favorite way to cut butter into pastry is a pastry cutter. It’s a simple tool, but it was designed perfectly for this purpose and works incredibly well.
A food processor also works very well, but I often find food processors are so bulky with so many awkward pieces that they are more trouble than they are worth so I stick with my good old fashioned pastry cutter. However, I recently found this food processor that has the motor on top instead of underneath, and I absolutely love it!
You can even just mix the butter into the flour in a stand mixer. Just be careful that the butter stays nice and cold and you don’t overmix it. This method is best for recipes that don’t require lots of distinct puffy layers.
Whatever method you use, my favorite tip for this step is to literally cut the butter first. If you cut your sticks of butter into small cubes first, there is that much less “cutting” that needs to be done in the flour.
Delicate, but not fragile
The key to the magical self-made layers in this dough is keeping all of the ingredients as distinct as possible. Essentially, you want layers of sour cream, butter, and flour, not a mixture. So when you mix, roll, and shape the dough, you want to be very careful to handle it as little as possible.
If you use a stand mixer, be sure to mix as little as possible. You just need to make sure that there aren’t huge globs of sour cream, but you don’t want the dough to form a ball, it should still be fairly crumbly.
It is even better to just mix the sour cream in with a good old fashioned wooden spoon. Again, make sure the sour cream is distributed, but let your dough stay nice and crumbly.
If you use a food processor, the dough will be especially crumbly even after adding the sour cream, but don’t worry, it’s supposed to be that way. Just go ahead and dump it out on a clean surface.
Then press the dough together into one piece. Handle it as little as possible, don’t mix or knead, just stick all the crumbles together into a dough.
When rolling, I prefer to roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap so that I don’t incorporate more flour into the dough than necessary. When you roll it out it will have almost a marbled effect with the streaks of sour cream and butter running through it.
It also helps to keep the dough as cold as possible. If you are in a hurry, you will have all of the flavor and tenderness even if you just mix, roll, and bake, but if you want more puff and more layers, it is best to chill the dough before rolling, after rolling, or both.
All of that being said, this dough is much less fragile and much easier to work with than your traditional pie dough. It’s best not to re-roll it over and over, but it won’t crumble or crack and you can easily patch it up.
Faux Puff Pastry
- 1 cup Butter - cold
- 1 1/2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- Cut butter into flour.
- Add sour cream and mix just until dough forms.
- Roll between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Chill before shaping.
Just take a look at those scrumptious layers!