30 June 2010
Recipe For Sweet Pastry Per Pierre Hermé
Having been given a great sweet tart pastry recipe by Anthony Stern from Independent Foods, I have recently come across an even better Sweet Tart Dough in Pierre Hermé’s book “Chocolate Desserts”. I must admit to being given the heads up about the wonders of Hermé’s Sweet Pastry from Chubby Hubby's blog in February 2010. Here's the recipe from the book, amended into British english:
285g / 10 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
150g / 5¼ oz icing sugar, sieved (in US, confectioners' sugar)
100g / 3 ¼ oz finely ground almonds (it is worth giving ground almonds from the supermarket an extra whizz in the food processor to grind them down a little bit further)
½ tsp sea salt (don't ruin the pastry with a cheap industrial free flow salt)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract (use Steenbergs if you can - highly biased viewpoint, so sorry)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (at room temperature)
490g / 17¼ oz plain flour (in US all-purpose flour), sieved
1. Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer or food processor with paddle fixture and beat/pulse until creamy, scraping down the edges as needed.
2. Add the sieved icing sugar and process until well mixed in. Next, you need to add the ground almond powder, sea salt and pure intense vanilla extract, and process until smooth. Scrape the bowl's sides if you need to. Now add the eggs and process to blend.
3. Add the plain flour in three parts and pulse/mix until the dough mixture starts to get together. Whatever you do, you mustn't overblend this and you should stop as it starts to form together into a ball.
4. Remove the sweet pastry dough and divide into thirds, shape each third into a ball and put each into a plastic bag, then flatten it. If using soon, let it settle in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably longer. Freeze the rest and use within a month. When starting from the frozen pastry medallions, it takes about 45 minutes before the dough is ready for rolling out.
5. To make the pastry crust, take a 24cm tart ring (9 - 10 inch) and lightly oil or butter it.
6. Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin, then roll out the pastry medallion, working it in each direction to ease the shape out into a very rough & ready circular shape. Take up the rolled sweet pastry dough and layer it over the tart dish. Prick all over the surface - I actually only do a triangle in the centre to prevent it bobbling up, but you should do more, or so the experts say. Patch any tears or thin areas with extra pastry that can simply be worked into the dough in the dish. Chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF.
8. Now line the crust. The proper way to do this as all the greats tell you from Delia Smith through to Pierre Hermé is to fit a circle of baking paper into the crust and fill it with dried beans or rice. I am lazy and I cheat - I scrunch up some aluminium foil, roll it into a roundish length and shape it around the edge of the pastry crust to keep the edges shaped and upright.
9. Bake the crust for 18 - 20 minutes until it is lightly coloured. If you need to fully bake the crust, remove the parchment and beans and bake for another 3 - 5 minutes until golden, but if you've cheated with aluminium in a round then the centre should have baked as well already, and you don't need this extra baking time.
10. Cool on a cooling rack for use later, and at least within 8 hours of baking.