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Nelie's Unbeatable Flaky Pastry

Julie Donald
Perfect pastry for pies (sweet and savoury)
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Baking


  • 1 kg flour
  • 5 ml salt
  • 750 g butter and/or marg you can use butter or marg or a mixture
  • 3 egg whites keep the yolks for brushing the pastry
  • 30 ml vinegar
  • 500 ml ice water
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar


  • Place flour and salt in a large bowl. Divide your butter/marg into 3 equal quantities (250g each). Set aside two of these to soften.
  • Rub or cut in the first 250g quantity of butter/marg to form a breadcrumb texture. This can also be done in a food processor on pulse.
  • Add the egg white, vinegar and water and mix with a fork until the mixture starts to come together. Once it becomes hard to mix, turn it all out onto the counter and knead lightly until if forms a soft, smooth dough. Set aside to rest for a few moments.
  • Divide the dough into 2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (be generous with the flour).
  • Spread or dab 125g of soft butter/marg onto the dough and fold into thirds. Press lightly around the edges to make sure the butter/marg stays inside the envelope. Place this dough in a plastic bag or wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.
  • With the final remaining 250g butter/marg, mix in a generous pinch of cream of tartar.
  • Working with your first batch, roll out on a floured surface again. Roll in one direction to form a longish oblong. Spread or dab 125g of the cream of tartar butter/marg and fold into thirds again (pinching off the sides again). Wrap and chill for a further 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this with the other batch.
  • This pastry can be used immediately or frozen. Before use I like to roll it out and fold it into to thirds a couple of extra times to ensure maximum layers and puff.


A special thank you to Nelie Strydom for this recipe!