Flaky pastry is somewhat similar to puff pastry, utilizing a combination of dough and fat to create a flaky, light pastry. Traditional puff pastry can be quite difficult to make properly, as the resulting pastry consists of alternating layers of fat, such as butter, and dough, which puffs when it is baked. Flaky pastry, on the other hand, consists of dough in which the fat is added as the dough is made, similar to a biscuit or pie dough, creating a pastry that is flaky and light but without the distinct layers found in puff pastry.
Also called quick puff pastry or blitz puff pastry, as both names refer to how much faster and easier flaky pastry is to make than puff pastry, this type of pastry is similar to puff pastry in certain ways. Both essentially consist of fairly simple dough, usually just flour and water with some sugar or salt mixed with fat. The type of fat used to make flaky pastry can vary, usually based on whatever type of fat is predominantly used in a given culture, though lard, butter, and shortening are all fairly common.
Though both pastry types consist of dough and fat, the way in which each of these is incorporated separates them. Puff pastry typically consists of a sheet of pastry dough that is rolled out, over which one or more sheets of cold fat, such as butter, are laid out. This is then folded over onto itself and rolled flat again. The process of folding and rolling is repeated until the puff pastry consists of many alternating layers of dough and fat, which creates the fluffiness and puffiness associated with such pastry.
Flaky pastry, however, typically consists of simple pastry dough, into which chunks or cubes of cold fat, such as butter or shortening, are added. These pieces are worked in, either by hand or with a fork or pastry cutter, to create pockets of fat within the larger dough. When such pastry is baked, these pockets create a flaky texture. Since flaky pastry does not have the layers of dough and fat found in puff pastry, however, it does not produce the puffiness that stems from these layers.