Category Archives: Pastry

Making Pastry

The art of making pastry has been surrounded by much mystique but it is simply the skill of combining fat, flour and water in the correct proportions according to your recipe; handling lightly but firmly in a cool environment; and baking in a hot oven. To obtain good light, crisp results, make sure ingredients, working surface and utensils are cold: if possible, keep them in the refrigerator before using. Cold hands also help.

After you have prepared the pastry, let it rest for about 20 minutes in a cool place before baking. The amount of water added is important as hard or tough pastry is caused by too much water as well as over-handling; and soft, crumbly pastry which is difficult to roll out, is due to insufficient water.

Basic Shortcrust Pastry

For pies, flans, tarts and pasties. The basic proportions are always half fat to flour.

2009 (8 oz) plain flour

2.5 ml (½ level teaspoon) salt

100 g (4 oz) butter or margarine

Cold water to mix — allow 5 ml (1 teaspoon) per 25 g (1 oz) flour

Sift flour and salt into bowl. Add fat and cut into flour with a knife. Rub with fingertips until it resembles bread-crumbs. Sprinkle water over and mix to stiff paste with a blunt knife. Draw together with your fingertips, turn out on to lightly floured board and roll out as required. Bake according to recipe.

If not used immediately, transfer to polythene bag or wrap in aluminium foil and place in refrigerator.

Rich Shortcrust Pastry

For excellent sweet pastry, for mince pies and fruit tarts.

200 g (8 oz) plain flour

Pinch of salt

125 g (5 oz) butter

1 egg yolk

7.5 ml (1 ½ level teaspoons) caster sugar

20-25 ml (4-5 teaspoons) water

Make in the same way as basic shortcrust pastry, adding sugar and egg yolk with the water. Chill and roll out.

Rolling out and baking pastry First lightly flour a pastry board. Use a rolling pin with short light movements, turning the pastry. Roll to a thickness of about 0.5 cm (¼ in). Use the dish as a guide to size and use the rolling pin to lift the pastry into the dish. If

making a pie, reserve some pastry for the lid. Press firmly into position excluding all air pockets and avoid stretching, which could cause the pastry to shrink back from the edges during cooking. Prick the bottom with a fork and fill. When making a pie, roll out the covering and seal the edges with water. Make a slit in the centre to let out the steam during baking. Bake at 200°C (400°F) Gas Mark 6.

Baking blind This is the term applied to baking a pastry flan case before adding the filling. Line a flan ring placed on a baking sheet. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper or aluminium foil on the base and sides of the flan ring, and press down the pastry. Add dried beans to weigh down the pastry as it cooks. Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C (400°F) Gas Mark 6 and remove paper before baking for a further 5-10 minutes until evenly browned.

Finishing and decorating Leftover strips of pastry can be used to make pastry leaves or tassels on a pie: brush with an egg wash, using beaten egg yolk mixed with a little water. Brush sweet pies with milk. Make a slit in the

centre to let out the steam and finish the edges of pies by crimping with the thumb or with the back of a fork For open flans make a lattice effect, by interweaving long pieces of pastry.

Suet Crust

For boiled and steamed puddings.

200 g (8 oz) self raising flour

2.5 ml (½ level teaspoon) salt 5 ml (1 level teaspoon) baking powder

100 g (4 oz) shredded

beef suet

125 ml (¼ pt) cold water to mix

Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl. Add suet and mix to a soft paste with water. Turn out on to floured board. Knead until smooth and roll out to about 0.5 cm (¼ in) thickness. Use the pastry as required.

Lining and covering a pudding basin

From the rolled-out pastry, cut out a quarter of it to use as a lid. Fold the rest around a greased 1.2 litre (2 pt) pudding basin, moulding to fit. Roll the remaining pastry for the cover. Put in the filling, cover, and brush the edges with water; seal. Cover with a pleated piece of greaseproof paper to allow for expansion during cooking. Place cloth over and tie string around the rim of the basin or use aluminium foil as a lid.

Hot-Water Crust Pastry For raised pies.

300 g (12 oz) plain flour

2.5 ml (½ level teaspoon) salt

1 egg yolk (size 3)

60 ml (4 tablespoons) milk

60 ml (4 tablespoons) water

25 g (1 oz) butter 75 g (3 oz) lard

Sift flour and salt into bowl; make a well in the centre. Beat yolk with 15 ml (1 tablespoon) milk and pour into well. Pour rest of milk and water into saucepan. Add butter and lard. Heat slowly until butter and lard melt, stirring all the time. Bring to a brisk boil. Pour into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until ingredients are well blended.

Turn out on to floured board and knead quickly until smooth. Put into bowl or basin standing over pan of hot water. Cover with clean tea-towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out warm pastry to 0.5 cm (¼ in) thickness and use as required.

Raised Pie

Using hot-water crust pastry cut two-thirds of it off to use to mould around the base of a jam jar or alternatively to line a loose-bottomed cake tin or pie mould. Keep the rest of the pastry in a warm place, wrapped in greaseproof paper. With a 900 g (2 lb) jam jar, mould the warm dough two-thirds of the way up the jar and remove when cool. Fill with meat, often diced pork and veal, well seasoned, and cover the pie with the remaining pastry. Seal by moistening the edges and, with scissors, cut the border and make a slit in the centre of the lid. Decorate with pastry leaves, brush with beaten egg and surround with a protective layer of paper tied with string, to prevent collapsing. Bake at 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes. Reduce to 150°C (300°F) Gas Mark 2 and bake for a further 1,/2 hours, testing with a skewer when cooked. Pour stock in through the centre hole and leave to set before serving.

Choux Pastry

An easy pastry to make for superb chocolate eclairs and delicious profiteroles.

75 g (2½ oz) plain flour

Pinch of salt

150 ml (¼ pt) water

50 g (2 oz) butter

2 eggs (size 3),well beaten

Sift flour and salt. Put water and butter into a saucepan and heat slowly until butter melts then bring to a brisk boil. Lower heat and add all the flour. Stir briskly until ingredients form a soft mix and leave the sides of the pan clean. Remove from heat, cool slightly and add eggs gradually, beating hard until mixture is smooth, shiny and firm enough to stand in soft peaks when lifted with a spoon. Use immediately, or leave in saucepan covered with the lid to prevent drying out.

Flaky Pastry

150 g (6 oz) butter

200 g (8 oz) plain flour

1.25 ml (¼ level teaspoon) salt

125 ml (¼ pt) chilled water

5 ml (1 teaspoon) lemon juice

Divide butter into four equal portions and chill three of them. Sift flour and salt into bowl. Rub in unchilled portion of butter. Mix to soft paste with water and lemon juice. Turn on to floured board and knead thoroughly. Put into polythene bag or wrap in aluminium foil. Chill.

Roll out to 0.5 cm (¼ in) thick rectangle, measuring about 45 cm x 15 cm (18 in x 6 in). Using tip of knife, spread one chilled portion of butter (in small flakes) over the top third and middle third of rectangle to within 2.5 cm (1 in) of edges. Dust lightly with sieved flour.

Fold in three, envelope style, by bringing bottom third over middle third and folding top third over. Seal open edges by pressing firmly together. Put into polythene bag or wrap in aluminium foil and chill for 15 minutes. Remove from bag or unwrap. With folded edges to left and right, roll out again into 45 cm x 15 cm (18 in x 6 in) rectangle. Cover with third portion of butter as before. Fold, seal and chill. Repeat again, adding last portion of butter, and chill. Roll out again. Fold and seal, return to polythene bag or wrap in aluminium foil. Chill.

Roll out to 0.5 cm (¼ in) thickness and shape according to your recipe. Rest for 20-30 minutes in a cool place before baking in a pre-heated oven at 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7 for 15-20 minutes.

Rough Puff Pastry

200 g (8 oz) plain flour

1.25 ml (¼ level teaspoon) salt

150 g (6 oz) butter

125 ml (¼ pt) chilled water

5 ml (1 teaspoon) lemon juice

Sift flour and salt into bowl. Cut butter into tiny dice and mix together water and lemon juice. Add butter to flour, using a knife, to mix to a fairly soft, crumbly paste with water and lemon juice.

Draw together with fingertips, turn out on to floured board and shape into block. Roll out to 0.5 cm (¼ in) thick rectangle, measuring about 45 cm x 15 cm (18 in x 6 in). Fold in three, envelope style, by bringing bottom third over middle third and folding top third over. Seal open edges by pressing firmly together. Give pastry a quarter turn so that folded edges are to right and left. Roll out, fold and turn three more times before baking.

If possible, put folded pastry into polythene bag (or wrap in aluminium foil) and chill about 15 minutes between rollings. Use according to the recipe you are following

Puff Pastry

225 g (8 oz) butter

225 g (8 oz) plain flour

1.25 ml (¼ level teaspoon) salt

5 ml (1 teaspoon) lemon juice

Chilled water to mix

Put butter into clean cloth, squeeze well to remove surplus moisture and to make it soft and pliable. Shape into 12.5 cm (5 in) square block. Sift flour and salt into bowl. Mix to soft paste (about same consistency as butter) with lemon juice and water. Turn out on to floured board and knead well. Roll out to rectangle measuring 30 cm x 15 cm (12 in x 6 in).

Stand butter on lower half of the pastry rectangle. Bring top half over so that butter is completely enclosed. Press open edges firmly together and put into polythene bag or wrap in aluminium foil. Chill.

Remove from wrapping. With fold on right, roll to a 45 cm x 15 cm (18 in x 6 in) rectangle, and fold in three as for flaky pastry. Seal edges, wrap and chill. Repeat, until pastry has been rolled, folded and chilled seven times. Return to polythene bag or wrap in aluminium foil. Chill at least 30 minutes before rolling out to 0.5 cm (¼ in) thickness and shaping according to your recipe. After shaping, let the pastry rest 30 minutes in a cool place before baking in a pre-heated oven.

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