Today’s recipe is for an easy alternative to gluten free puff pastry that takes seconds to make. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s a good option when you want quick homemade pastries and don’t want to spend an eternity in the kitchen. 😉
If you’ve ever looked into how puff pastry is made and you’re a normal sane person, you probably clicked away and scrapped that homemade puff pastry idea out of your head in a second flash. 😱😂 The traditional way is so time consuming and the level of effort has never seemed worth the reward to me.
But if only ready-made gluten free puff pastry was readily available… there are some out there but they’re not always easy to find, they’re not cheap and well, they’re always dairy free! I understand why they do it, it makes sense to hit a few target markets at once from a business point of view… but the lack of a real buttery flavour just takes us even further from ‘normal’ puff pastry.
So after doing some research, I decided to try the quick cheat method (made with grated frozen butter) that some are using and I have to say I’m happy with the result. Let’s be real, it’s not going to be the flakiest pastry you’ve ever had in your life. It’s more like a cross between shortcrust and puff pastry (so by no means a proper puff pastry), but it’s surprisingly flaky enough (if done right) and considering how easy it is to make in comparison, it’s a compromise I’m willing to live with when I want quick pastries. 🙌
Tips for best results:
1. Freeze the butter until rock solid.
2. Use the pastry immediately. You have to work fast before the butter melts as those frozen lumps create little pockets of butter that are essentially what makes the pastry flaky. Otherwise refrigerate or freeze to use later.
3. Use cold ingredients. The yoghurt should be straight out of the fridge for the same reason as above, to keep the butter from melting as much as possible.
Let me know what you think in the comments if you try it! It’s an ongoing experiment so I’ll update this post as I improve it. 🙂
Easy gluten free puff pastry recipe:
- 120g (1/2 + ⅛ cup) gluten free self-raising flour (I used Doves Farm)
- ½ tsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg (half for the puff pastry, the other half to brush over the pastries)
- 40g (3 Tbsp) plain Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 tsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 55g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (frozen)
- 1-2 tsp cold water
- Plain cream cheese
- Caster sugar (to taste)
- Lemon or lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh berries
COOKING TEMPERATURE: 200C (390F)
COOKING TIME: 15 to 20 mins
How to make the puff pastry:
- Freeze the butter in a ziplock bag until rock solid.
- Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat one egg and then carefully pour half into the flour. Keep the other half to brush over the pastry before cooking.
- Add the yoghurt (cold, straight out of he fridge) and lemon juice and mix with a spatula until you reach a somewhat lumpy/crumbly texture.
- Grate the frozen butter into the bowl and mix with your hands until you can form a ball, but don’t overwork the dough until smooth. The frozen lumps create little pockets of butter which is what makes the pastry flaky so we want to keep those! Note: if the dough is too dry, add cold water (one teaspoon at a time), until it comes together into a ball.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge for 10 minutes. We need to keep the pastry cold so that the grated butter doesn’t melt. Note: if you’re not using the puff pastry immediately, put it in a ziplock bag and freeze.
How to use it:
- Dust your work surface with flour and add some over the pastry as well. I like to work on a sheet of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Flatten the dough with your hands and then roll gently until the pastry is about 0.5-1cm thick. To prevent cracking and make the rolling easier, stop from time to time to smooth the edges with your fingers. Note: If you’re making individual pastries, I recommend dividing the dough into portions and working/rolling only one at a time while keeping the rest in the fridge to prevent the butter from melting.
- Use according to your recipe. Note: have your fillings and toppings ready in advance as you need to work fast. 👍
- Like in method #1, roll the pastry but instead of using it immediately, you can try to create a bit more layers. Wipe away any excess flour on top of the pastry, fold both sides over (like in the picture above) and roll again (but not too hard, we don’t want to lose those layers). Note: with this method however, you run the risk of losing some of the pockets of butter if it gets too warm.
- Repeat the process a few times, sprinkling a bit more flour onto your work surface if necessary (to prevent sticking). Ideally you’d have to chill the pastry in the fridge in between, but not in this quick version.
- Then use according to your recipe.
How to make the cream cheese Danish pastries:
- Prepare the filling: mix some plain cream cheese with caster sugar (as much or as little as you like) until smooth. At this point you can also add a touch of vanilla extract, lemon/lime juice (as well as zest) or any flavourings you’d like.
- Cut the pastry into squares and then slice an opening along the edges, but not all the way (as seen in the pictures above).
- Fold each side over to create a sort of diamond shape and press it all gently into place.
- Add a couple of spoonfuls of cream cheese in the middle, top with berries and brush some egg wash (egg + a dash of milk) around the edges.
- Bake in a preheated oven on 200C (390F) for 18-20 minutes.