Chez Pim's Mix-on-the-Counter Flaky Pastry Dough

Recipe Reviews

Check out this sweet video that Chronicle Books did for food blogger Chez Pim's new book The Foodie Handbook. While it may be too late in the year to make her nectarine galette, Pim's unusual pastry dough method that skips the bowl is worth a second look. Especially with pie season just around the corner.

What's great about this recipe is that it is born of a mistake. According to The Foodie Handbook, Pim accidentally left half the water out of Judy Rodger's (Zuni Cafe, San Francisco) recipe. She discovered that the dough was stretchy and very easy to work with and resulted in a flaky, tender crust.

I gave Pim's 'very flaky pastry dough' a try last night. The recipe and instructions are given in the video (1 3/4 cups flour, 1 cup salted butter and 1/4 cup water.) The dough was a lot of fun to pinch and push around and it came together nicely. There was something very satisfying about working it with my hands. I've never felt that way when using the food processor or even a bowl and pastry blender.

Pim highly recommends using a dough scraper and I agree. If you don't have one, try carefully scraping your counter with a large knife.

A note on the butter. I hope you noticed that it says salted butter. I'm not in the habit of keeping salted butter on hand, so I dissolved 1 teaspoon of salt into the quarter cup of water and it worked fine.

Once your dough comes together, gather it into a ball and press into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate.

What the video doesn't make obvious is that after the first rest (30 minutes) the dough is removed from the refrigerator, rolled out, folded into thirds and rolled out again. This is repeated two or three more times and then the dough is divided into two, flattened into disks, wrapped and refrigerated again, this time for an hour. Now it's ready for its final roll out and filling.

The dough was fun and easy to work with. It rolled out quite thin and was pliable and smooth. It really was a cinch! I checked Ruhlman's Ratio and he recommends the 3-2-1 Pie Dough which is three parts flour to two parts fat to one part water. This recipe calls for a slightly higher ratio of flour to fat and, as noted, half the amount of water. Still, it works.

I give it high marks for the promised flakiness and flavor, too. I was a little concerned about handling it so much — first with my hands and then all the folding and rolling. But it's that folding and rolling that produces the many-layered flakiness, much like croissant or puff pastry.

Pim says in her video that we all need a go-to pastry recipe and she's right. I think I'll join her in highly recommending this one. It's a winner!

• Pim Techamuanvivit's blog Chez Pim is world famous and her new book The Foodie Handbook was just released from Chronicle Books and is available at Amazon for $16.47.

Related: Recipe Review: The Cook's Illustrated Vodka Pie Crust

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