Friday, October 8, 2010

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

I can't remember what began my fascination with gluten-free puff pastry.  I just know that I can't stop making it.

I make all kinds of foods with it, from pastries to snacks. (Pictured above is a pepperoni and cheese palmier pile.)

Puff Pastry wrapped asparagus.  Delicious!
Puff Pastry Pear Tart.  Yummy!

Strawberries and cream on Puff Pastry, Cinnamon Puff Pastry Pinwheels, Pear Blueberry Pie

I tried a few variations on my recipe just to be sure, like arrowroot or cornstarch. Which is truly better?  Brown Rice flour or Sweet White Sorghum flour?  Tapioca or not to tapioca, that was the question.  

So, I experimented and explored gluten free puff pastry for about a month.  

I feel that I've gained a much better understanding of pastry and the doughs required.  
I feel that I learned quite a bit about puff pastry that I didn't know and busted some myths that I had heard.
I feel.....a bit plumper after sooo many pastries.

I will try to address all the "issues" I had while experimenting but lets start with the recipe that worked best.


1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup arrowroot
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
2 tablespoons clover honey
3/4 - 1 cup ice water (You may not need the entire cup)
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (12 tablespoons)
3 additional tablespoons of sweet rice flour for the butter block

The secret to puff pastry is to keep it cold, work with it cold.  I put my pastry roller in the freezer beforehand.  If you have it, roll out the pastry on a cold marble slab or metal on an ice tray.  Keeping the butter and the dough cold so they do not blend together is essential, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together in your stand mixer bowl.  Make a well in the center for the ice water and let the mixer gradually knead the dough into a soft ball using the dough hooks.
Dough Ball

Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Now to make the butter block.  To simplify this I added the butter and the additional sweet rice flour to a ziploc bag. Flatten by lightly pounding the bag while it is sealed.  Open the bag, fold the butter/flour mixture in half, reseal the bag and repeat.  Do this several times until you have made a solid butter block.  Place this too in the refrigerator and wait for about 2 hours.

Once both the dough and the butter block are chilled, prepare your work surface. Slightly flour the work surface and roll the dough out in the shape of an X as pictured below, leaving the center part thick.  Place the butter block in the center.

Fold the sides over the center like a package. 

Tip: The four flaps that get folded over should equal the total thickness of the bottom or center of the dough.

I then turn the "package" fold side down and begin rolling into an elongated rectangle.  

Tip: Use a brush to dust off the extra flour before folding.

Fold the elongated rectangle like a business letter in thirds.

Once both sides are dusted off and folded in. Turn the dough slab so that the seam (flap) side is to your right.  Roll it out into the elongated rectangle and then fold as you would a business letter. Wrap in cling wrap and place back in the refrigerator. 

The process of rolling out and folding is called a "turn".  You need to do this 6 times, (2, 2, then 2) refrigerating after each 2 turns for about 2 hours a time.  You need to let the dough get cold enough to keep the butter and the flour layers from mixing together. After 6 turns you have a lot of layers.

Tip:  Take your time and keep the pressure even while rolling out the dough.

Apple and Pear Tarts
Blueberry Pear Pie

Tip:  Refrigerate the finished pastry before baking.

Tip: Watch closely, there is a small difference between too little and too long in the oven.

Tip:  400 - 450 degree oven temps recommended. 

Tip:  Fruit filled cooks a lot slower than just pastry squares.

Tip:  Brush with an egg wash for a better browned top.

My conclusion is that Puff Pastry is a bit easier than I thought it was going to be.  There is work involved and it does take a long time to complete, but most of that time is waiting on it to chill in the refrigerator.  

Thanks for reading, and  Enjoy!


  1. make it sound so easy...and i am inspired!!

  2. thanks SO MUCH for doing the experimenting for us! i'm very much looking forward to making baklava again and i have a wonderful wrapped salmon fillet recipe i had almost given up on that will now work as well. you're an inspiration!

  3. I would buy this from you!! I wish you could send it to me overnight. How much would you charge? I am not a baker, but I miss pastries so much.