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Vegan Baking Basics: Puff Pastry

by Flo Cornish

8min read

Making vegan puff pastry doesn't have to be hard work. Our pastry chef, Flo, guides you through making a buttery, flaky, golden puff that will have you eating everything with a pastry base from now on. With simple, easy to find ingredients it's perfect for all the palmiers, tarts and turnovers your heart could desire.

puff-pastry-stack

Hi, I’m Flo, a trained pastry chef and lover of all things baked. If you’re new to vegan baking, or just looking to find easy and delicious bakes, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be taking you through a baking course, from building blocks to basics, and beyond. It’s pastry week in the bake off tent, vegan puff pastry week to be exact.

While baking puff pastry from scratch might seem like a chore, when it comes to getting the rich buttery flakey texture there’s really no beating it. This recipe is dairy free with simple, recognisable ingredients.

Before we start, here are my tips for the best vegan puff pastry…

How to stop your vegan puff pastry from melting

A common issue with both dairy and dairy free puff pastry is the butter melting out the sides, and losing the lamination (the thin layers that help the pastry stay flakey and puffed up). The biggest culprit for this is heat. It’s important to keep puff pastry chilled until it’s time to cook. Then it should go straight into a hot oven. This will allow the layers in the pastry to puff up. If they are too warm, the butter will melt too quickly and seep out of the pastry, preventing it from puffing up into layers.

What butter to use for dairy free puff pastry

Most of the time I will be able to give you a couple of substitutions, however, it’s really important to the rise of your puff pastry to use a stable fat. This recipe really does require a vegan butter. It won’t work with a spread or margarine block, so make sure you avoid that. My favourite is Naturli Vegan Block. It’s stocked at Sainsbury’s and a number of online retailers.

Freezing vegan puff pastry

Just like dairy puff, this vegan pastry freezes beautifully. You can make it in advance, and then freeze it at the last roll and fold. It will last well in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just thaw it well before rolling out and baking. 

Keeping track of puff pastry layers

Label your cling film with how many rolls and folds you’ve done as you go so that you don’t lose track. You don’t want to do anymore than 6 rolls and folds or it may all start to smoosh together (yes, smoosh is the technical term)

Let’s make some pastry!

Prep Time

30 mins

Chill Time

4 hours

Ingredients

Vegan Puff Pastry: 
225g plain flour 

¼ tsp salt 

30g + 200g vegan butter (I used Naturli Vegan Block)

100ml cold water

Method

STEP 1

Make the detrempe (this is the base dough that the butter will get incorporated into during the rolling and folding process). Mix together the flour and salt into a bowl. Add in the 30g of cold vegan butter, cut into small cubes. Rub this into the flour until you have some ‘flakes’ of pastry forming.

STEP 2

Add in the cold water and stir together to form a dough. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead it 3-4 times just to bring it together into a ball. 

STEP 3

Wrap this in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins. 

STEP 4

Now, make your beurrage (the block of butter you will roll and fold in the centre of your detrempe to create the puff in the layers). Cut two pieces of baking parchment and place 200g of cold vegan butter into the centre. 

STEP 5

Using a rolling pin, beat the butter out to a rectangle that is 15cm long by 7cm wide. It should be about 1cm thick. Leave this to stay chilled in the fridge. 

STEP 6

Now, we start to roll and fold. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 45cm long and 15cm wide. Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold over the edges to cover the butter. Pinch the dough where the seams join over the butter and roll it out to 3 times as long as wide. 

STEP 7

Fold the bottom third up and the top third over the bottom third. Turn the pastry to the side so that the seam is on your right hand side. Roll the pastry out so that it is 3 times as long as wide again. Fold up the pastry into thirds as you have just done. Wrap in cling film, mark it ‘2 rolls + folds’ and rest in the fridge for 30 mins. 

STEP 8

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll and fold another two times. Wrap it up and mark it as ‘ 4 rolls + folds’. Chill again for 30 mins.

STEP 9

Do this rolling and folding again 2 more times. You want 6 rolls and folds in total. 

STEP 10

After the 6th roll and fold, chill the pastry again for 30 mins before using as puff pastry. 

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