Almost all my favourite desserts involve pastry: my mother’s apple pie with its crisp shortcrust; cream-filled, chocolate-covered choux pastry buns; the simplicity of tarte citron with melt-in-the-mouth buttery pâte sucrée and the crisp, delicate layers of a millefeuille made with puff pastry.

Puff pastry is quite the endeavour, but worth it if you have the time and commitment. If you have neither, say hello to your new pastry friend, rough puff. This pastry has plenty of buttery layers, cooks to a crisp-and-tender finish and is versatile: use for hand pies, but don’t just think desserts, beef Wellington, fish pie and even that retro favourite, the vol-au-vent!

Make Janey’s recipe for Apple Hand Pies using the ruff puff pastry.

Photos by Leia Guo

Ruff Puff Pastry

Author Janey Bevan


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or pastry flour, 250 g
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 3 ml
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, 150 g cut into 2.5 cm or 1/2 inch cubes (take butter out of refrigerator half an hour before)
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water, 125 ml


  • Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the cubes of butter and turn them in the flour to coat each cube. Add 100 ml of the cold water and mix quickly with a knife, turning the bowl as you stir. The flour and water will form large flakes, attaching themselves to the cubes of butter. Push the flakes to the side of the bowl and add 8 ml (½ Tbsp) of water at a time, incorporating the dry flour and butter in the bottom of the bowl.
  • This is the only tricky part, you need enough water to bring the flour and butter together, but it mustn’t be wet. A wet dough will give you a tough final result.
  • Squeeze some of the mixture between your fingers and if it feels damp, with no large amounts of dry flour in the bowl, bring the dough together into a ball. If it still feels a little dry sprinkle another 8 ml ( ½ Tbsp) of water over the dough, mix with the knife and test again. Gather the dough into a ball, covering any exposed butter with flour and water. Work quickly so the heat of your hands doesn’t start melting the butter.
  • Shape the dough into a block about 12 x 17 cm (5 x 7 inches) and 2–3 cm (1 inch) thick, wrap it in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 20 minutes. When the 20 minutes are up, lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and put the dough on the surface with the short end facing you. Use the rolling pin to ridge rather than roll the dough, patting up and down, keeping the rolling pin parallel to your body. Try to keep the sides straight and the corners square, a palette knife or your hands is great for this but keep hand contact to a minimum to prevent the pastry from warming up.
  • When the dough is about 2-3 cm (1 inch) thick start to roll, gently encouraging the pastry to lengthen rather than applying too much pressure and stretching it. Pay attention to the top and bottom, keeping the dough the same thickness along the whole length, without rolling over the edges, which will stretch the top layer creating an uneven rise. Keep rolling the pastry until it is 3 times as long a sit is wide, and about 1.5 cm (½ inch) thick.
  • Check that the sides are straight and corners square, then fold the bottom third of the pastry up over the middle third and the top third down and over the bottom and middle third. Turn the pastry so the folded side is to your left. Repeat the ridging, rolling and folding one more time, making sure the pastry is cold to the touch and the butter is not becoming greasy. If it feels at all warm or soft, wrap it up and put it back in the fridge for a few minutes. If the pastry is still cold but a little butter breaks through on the surface, then scatter some flour over it, dust off with a pastry brush and continue. Wrap the pastry up and put it in the fridge for another 20-30 minutes.
  • Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and repeat the ridging, rolling and folding two more times, until the pastry is streak-free and smooth. Keep well wrapped in the fridge until needed. The pastry also freezes well for up to a month.


I have given the ingredient amounts in grams as well as cups. When I am baking, I prefer the accuracy of measuring the ingredients on a scale, and I urge you to do the same, if you can.