Making classic puff pastry is one of those techniques that separates the professional chef from the recreational cook. While it's not impossible, it can be time-consuming and very involved. In our latest master class, Nancy Silverton simplifies the art of puff pastry the "rough puff" way:
"Rough puff is made using the same ingredients and the same turning method as in classic puff pastry. The difference is that with classic puff pastry, the butter is molded into a large rectangle of a specific size and shape and integrated into the détrempe in a very precise and symmetrical way. With rough puff, the butter is cut into big chunks and integrated into the détrempe in a random way -- a much easier, less time-consuming process.
"When I learned to make puff pastry while I was a student at Le Cordon Bleu in London, they taught rough puff as a lazy man's (or woman's) alternative to the classic version. Since then, I've always insisted that if I were going to make puff pastry, it had to be 'the right way.' Now, all these years later, here I was, standing with a true authority being told that rough puff wasn't an inferior option, it was simply a different dough, and in fact it was the dough that for filled pastries would yield the superior product.