So yes, I prefer to make my own puff pastry.  I know, I know…this seems nutty.  But you already know about this side of me, so it can’t come as that much of a surprise.  I considered adding this tutorial to my Making the Basics series, but it seems kind of contradictory to call puff pastry basic.  Certainly, it isn’t a basic ingredient in the sense that canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, or beans are, but it is an item that is typically purchased pre-made and frozen.  If you’re anything like me, your first bite of the homemade stuff will be all you need to kiss the store-bought variety goodbye.  The glorious buttery, flaky delicate layers of dough are exactly what the packaged version should be but never seems to actually be, at least in my experience.  Puff pastry is definitely an indulgent treat to be enjoyed only sporadically, so when the time comes we should do it justice.  And I know I say it all the time but I promise, this is really much easier than you might imagine.

Read on below for the full step-by-step instructions with photos. Also, here are just a few of my favorite things to do with puff pastry:

Flaky apple turnovers.  Make them immediately, thank me later.

Caramelized onion tart.  I have no words.

Baked brie with apple compote.  One of my favorite fall appetizers!

  • Yield 2 (1 pound) blocks puff pastry dough


3 cups (15 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups (24 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. ice water
2 tsp. lemon juice


  • 01

    To make the puff pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine.

  • 02

    Add in about a quarter of the butter cubes and process until the butter is in dime-sized pieces, about four 1-second pulses.  Add the remaining butter and process to coat the cubes with flour, about two 1-second pulses.  Transfer the mixture to a medium size mixing bowl.

  • 03

    Combine the ice water and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Add half of the liquid to the flour and butter mixture, and toss just until combined.  Keep adding the liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough will clump together with your hand.

  • 04

    Turn the dough out onto a work surface.  The dough will be dry and shaggy at this point.

  • 05

    To fraisage the dough, brace the heel of one hand against the work surface and drag small portions of the dough forward in short, brisk strokes.  Gather the dough together into a rough mound, using a bench scraper if necessary.

  • 06

    Repeat the fraisage a second time.  Press the dough into an 8- by 4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • 07

    Place the dough onto a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper and roll into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.

  • 08

    Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds.

  • 09

    Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.

  • 10

  • 11

    Repeat the entire rolling and folding process once more.  Roll the dough out into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  (If at any point in the rolling and folding process the dough becomes too sticky or difficult to work with, transfer it to a baking sheet or cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until it becomes workable.)  Fold lengthwise into thirds.  Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.

  • 12

    Cut in half to yield two 1-pound blocks of puff pastry dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap freeze until ready to use.  Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before use.