This week must be ‘how to’ week, since we started it off with how to make a flax egg and now, moving onto vegan puff pastry! I’ve done a few of these ‘how to’ posts in the past, one was on making the best cashew cream frosting and the other was all about that amazing vegan chickpea meringue that has been floating around the internet. (p.s. All the ‘how to’ posts will live in the recipe archives and under the ‘Vegan Baking Basics’ tab up top). I’ve had vegan puff pastry on the mind for a while, but finally got around to experimenting and actually making it. I had to go through a few trials to get this vegan puff pastry dough just right, but in the end, I totally nailed it! Let’s dive deeper, shall we?
I had a few trials and tribulations with this dough recipe. First, I wanted to see if cold olive oil would work in puff pastry dough, thinking it would provide a nice, solid fat to take place of the butter in the usual recipes. Nope. The higher liquid content in olive oil combined with a hot day plus me trying to cram it into getting it done before rushing to yoga class, just didn’t work out. Olive oil might be perfect for a pie crust or something that tends to be a bit drier by nature, but puff pastry just wasn’t the right match for it. Moving on! Next, I used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour in one batch of the dough, trying to see if the method I normally reserve for making cookies would work. Strike out again. Delicate pastry doughs are just that, delicate doughs. Don’t try to beef them up with whole wheat flour and make them disguise themselves as a healthy-ish treat. They aren’t going to be and don’t even try to force it. I’ll save you the pain and heartache and tell you, it’s totally not worth it!
Now, I’m here to tell you that I wanted to make a vegan puff pastry dough without vegan butter. I really don’t keep the stuff around and don’t want to buy it just to make a batch of puff pastry dough, so I wanted to see if it would work with my favorite baking fat..coconut oil! Turns out, coconut oil is perfect for replacing butter in a quick vegan puff pastry. The fat structure and way it is used in the dough turns out perfectly, so it’s a great replacement for the usual sticks on sticks of butter in the dough. Make sure yours is cold and isn’t super liquid-y, because that just won’t work. Also, get the good stuff, because you might taste a hint of it in this dough. Think about how solid butter is just it’s just past being taken out of the fridge, still pliable, but not melting on the counter. For me, the day I made my puff pastry dough it was hot outside, so I had to pop my coconut oil in the fridge for a while to get it to firm up. If the weather is mild or your kitchen stays cool, you may not have an issue with this at all. Speaking of warm weather, if the dough starts to warm up and get really sticky, stick it back into the fridge for a few minutes and let it take a chill. No one likes to wrestle with warm dough and if the coconut oil gets too warm in the dough, things are going to start getting mushy and you will start heading up struggle street with your puff pastry.
I will tell you that this is a quick method of making puff pastry, so there won’t be any making of butter squares (as the longer, more involved process has you do), but there will be a pretty easy dough that you make and use anytime. The instructions are going to look long and time intensive, but the main idea behind puff pastry is that you are rolling out the dough and laminating (folding) it multiple times, to build those perfect flaky layers of fat and dough. When the dough is baked up, the layers get puffed up and end up being flaky and perfect for a batch of fancy puff pastry cookies (shown above) or a super quick croissant. I do have a more true croissant recipe coming, so sit tight if you are hankering for a real deal vegan croissant recipe, it’s coming! So if the recipe below looks like it’s way too hard or will take too much time, just remember that a lot of it is fridge time, rolling, laminating and just waiting. You can also make this and keep it on hand to make a quick savory tart or sweet puff pastry pillows filled with jam, whatever your heart desires. Go forth and get to rolling!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup coconut oil, solid (but make sure it's still pliable!)
- ¼ cup cold water
- In a large bowl, stir together the flours and salt. Using your hands, cut in the coconut oil until crumbs the size of large peas are formed. For this, I just dropped the coconut oil into the flour mixture and broke it up with my hands until it was broke down into the large pea size. Add the cold water and stir together until the mixture comes together into a dough. If the dough seems a bit dry, add just a tad more water until it comes together. Pat into a loose ball and transfer the dough to a well floured surface.
- Dust the top of the dough with flour and form into a rectangle that is ¾ inch thick. Roll the dough into a rectangle 12 inches long by 7 inches wide and ½ inch thick. With the short side facing you (the 7 inch side), fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third down, like you are folding a letter. Rotate the folded dough a quarter turn (so the folded side is to your left) and repeat. Roll out and fold up again, repeat one more time after that (for a total of 3 times). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before shaping or using for a recipe.
- Dough can be frozen for up to a month.