Mock Puff Pastry

I got this recipe from a dear friend when we were all new to Kenya and trying to learn how to feed our families in this unfamiliar place. This was during our language school days, when we also spent hours in a classroom learning Swahili and East African culture.

Puff pastryTrust me when I tell you one of the major stressors during this time was having to relearn a new way of doing practically everything. In the US, I was quite adept at feeding my family. Here, I couldn’t even buy ketchup or flour without help. I can laugh about it now, but then, I was nearly in tears the first time I had to go grocery shopping. You rarely read the label name when you go shopping; you look for the familiar packaging. Quick, what color is the Gold Medal flour sack and logo? Exactly. Fortunately, there was another friend to save me from myself and he took my list and showed me where things were and which brands were best.

My language school friend got the recipe from her mother-in-law, who I’m told is a fabulous cook. I believe it.

This is a quick way to have a tender, rich dough for sweet or savory turnovers and other things. It’s the one you see in my recipe for plum galette.

Besides being easy, the other magical quality it has is that it freezes beautifully, allowing you to always have on hand the makings for a quick desert or dinner. Empanadas, anyone?

Mock Puff Pastry
Recipe type: Pastry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Using only four ingredients, this pastry comes together quickly and tastes great. It's very versatile and freezes quite well.
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional: use for a sweet pastry)
  • 1 cup cold butter (unsalted), cut into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  1. Stir the salt and sugar into the flour with a whisk.
  2. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or other method. Many cooks use their hands and rub the butter into the flour. I prefer to do all this first part in the food processor. It goes really fast.
  3. You just place the flour, salt, and sugar in the processor, pulse once or twice. Then add the pieces of butter and pulse till it looks like coarse sand.
  4. At this point, dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the heavy cream.
  5. Mix in the cream with a fork until the flour is moistened and the dough begins to come together.
  6. From here, I like to tip it onto my board and gently knead it together or directly onto cling film and use that to bring it together.
  7. Divide in half. Shape each half into a disk and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour or two and proceed with your pastry making.
  8. Or place the wrapped disks in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until you're ready to use them.


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