How to make perfect pastry
Day 2 of our Christmas countdown deals with pastry. Ok, there are plenty of ready made pastries on the market, but there is nothing nicer & more satifying than making your own.
Apart from the fact that there will be no hidden, additives in your homemade pastry, you also have the opportunity, to ring the changes, by using different flours. You need to experiment with this, as some flours, Rye for example, produces a lovely nutty tasting pastry, but it can be quite heavy, needing the addition of a bit more liquid than when using normal plain flour.
Always, use the best quality flour that you can afford, cheap flours contain bleaching agents, to retain the whiteness & the quality of the wheat used in the milling, is not always of great quality. All this reflects in the final taste & texture of your finished result. I personal use Mathews Cotswold flours, in all my baking. In the photo above, you can see pastry made with their Maize flour, which make a beautifully crisp, golden pastry, suitable for quiches, tarts etc. Recipe below:
Short crust pastry.
Makes 1kg enough to line 4 x 20cm Quiche or Tart tins. Allegens:: Wheat, Egg.
450g Maize Flour
115g Unsalted butter- chopped into small pieces.
115g White Cooking Fat – chopped into small pieces.
1 medium free range egg, beaten & made up to 8 tbspns with ice cold water.
Large pinch of salt.
Place the flour & salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Using the K beater, mix on speed 3 until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. DO NOT OVER MIX.
With the mixer running, gradually add the egg & water. Until the mix forms a ball. Remove from the bowl & lightly knead on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film & chill for 30mins, untill ready to use. Never over work your dough, & keep all ingredients chilled. Warm over worked pastry, results in oily, heavy pastry. Always bake in a metal tin, placed on a pre heated oven tray (place in oven, when switching on). This conducts the heat better. NO soggy bottom. As a general rule, this pastry bakes at 200f 400c Gas 6 for 15mins, reducing to 180f 350c Gas 4 for a futher 20mins, depending on your recipe & oven.
The above recipe makes, 1kg of pastry. you can halve the quantity, but I think it is always better, from a time point of veiw, to make a larger quantity, & divide it into portions & freeze for later use. You can line 4 tins with the pastry & pop into the freezer. When needed you have them ready to fill & bake.
To make a gluten free version of Shortcrust pastry. Replace the above flour with the following:
200g Buckwheat Flour
250 Brown Rice Flour.
Omit the egg & use nine tablespoons of chilled water. Follow the method as above.
Have fun choosing your fillings, both sweet & savoury, get creative
On tomorrows Christmas Countdown, we will be dealing with Rough Puff Pastry & Christmas Cake Pies?