Crisp croissants. Decadent pain au chocolat. Towering napoleons layered with strawberries and cream. The tempting treats that populate the shelves at your favorite French bakery are all made with one very special food: puff pastry. And for a long, sad time, gluten-free folks had to pass on the puff. But those dark days are over — thanks to our friends at ChefSteps and baker Aran Goyoaga. She went gluten-free a few years back, and she’s spent the interim developing innovative techniques for glutenless versions of everything from chocolate cake to squid ink pasta.
For a gluten-free puff pastry with plenty of stretch and smoothness, she adds the binder xanthan gum to the mix and employs a light hand with the dough to avoid ripping or overworking it. Once you have conquered the recipe, you can use it to make anything from savory tarts and beef Wellington to palmiers and Kouign-Amann. The flaky, buttery results will be well worth your while. Take a look at the instructional video and full recipe below.
Servings: Enough for 2 pastries
Timing: About 8 hours
105 grams potato starch
105 grams tapioca starch, plus more for dusting
60 grams sorghum flour
60 grams brown rice flour, superfine, plus more for dusting
60 grams sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks butter, unsalted, cold, divided
¾ cup ice water
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the starches, flours, xanthan gum and salt.
- Cut one stick of the chilled butter into half-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, mix the ingredients together until they look like coarse sand.
- Add ice water and mix with your hands until a dough starts to form. Knead the dough for five minutes, or until it’s smooth and hardly cracks. If the dough is too dry, you can add a little bit more water.
- Form the dough into a 2-inch-thick square, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Make yourself a work surface, and lay out a sheet of plastic wrap. Cut the remaining butter into two rectangles, and place them in the center of the plastic wrap. Dust the top with about a tablespoon of superfine brown rice flour. Cover the butter with another sheet of plastic wrap.
- Using the rolling pin, flatten the butter. Then unwrap the plastic cover and fold the butter onto itself. Gather any leftover superfine brown rice flour and dust it across the top. Cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it again with a rolling pin.
- Repeat this process until you have a 5 x 5-inch butter square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Dust your work surface with a little bit of tapioca starch to prevent sticking. Place the dough on top and roll out the four sides to form a square with four flaps. The center of your dough should be about the size of the butter packet, and the flaps should be long enough that you can fold them over the butter completely.
- Set the butter packet in the middle of the dough, and fold the flaps over the butter. Pinch closed any cracks. You don’t want any of the butter to be exposed.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough and butter packet to form a rectangle that’s approximately 7 inches wide by 21 inches long. The exact size doesn’t matter, but you want the rectangle to be about three times as long as it is wide.
- Fold the top third of the dough over the middle third, and then fold the bottom third over that.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees, and repeat the entire process: Roll the dough out again until it’s three times as long as it is wide, and fold over the top third and bottom third.
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
- Take the dough packet out and let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the butter get too soft.
- Dust your work surface and the top of your dough packet with tapioca starch. Once again, roll the dough into a rectangle that’s three times as long as it is wide. Fold over the top third and bottom third.
- Turn 90 degrees, and roll and fold for a fourth time. Chill the dough for another two hours.
- Repeat the rolling and folding process: Let the dough rest at room temp for 10 minutes. Roll it out until it’s three times as long as it is wide. Fold over the top third and bottom third.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees, and roll and fold for the sixth time.
- Chill in the fridge for — you guessed it — two hours.
- Your pastry dough is ready to go! Fill it to your heart’s content.
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