07 April 2010
Recipe - Sweet Tart Dough or Sweet Pastry
I am not very good at making pastry. Some people say that you need cold hands to make pastry and dough, but I have warm hands as I seem always to be burning away all that food - perhaps I just never sit still or my metabolism runs too fast.
So I asked our good friend, Anthony Sterne to come up with his easy pastry recipes and then for us to have a go at them ourselves. Anthony used to be a development chef at Pret A Manger in London before setting out on his own, originally making pies and pastry with exotic fillings and has now branched out into quiches and (very successfully) into delicious cakes. His business is called Independent Foods - originally I's Pies - and his great creations are available in Booths, Morrisons and Waitrose, but in our opinion should be more widely available. You can check his web site out at http://www.independentfoods.co.uk/
In Anthony's words "this recipe creates a crisp, biscuity pastry that is perfect as a base for tarts or mince pies. As long as the oven is well preheated it generally works really well without blind baking. The most important consideration is to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature (especially the butter and eggs) before starting."
400g / 14oz plain flour
160g / 5.5oz good butter (softened)
140g / 5oz caster Sugar
2 large eggs (we only ever use free-range)
Use an electric mixer with the beater attachment or a bowl and a wooden spoon to cream the butter and caster sugar together. The mixture should be light in colour and slightly fluffy in texture.
Beat the eggs and add gradually with the teaspoon of Steenbergs Organic Fairtrade vanilla extract, mixing all the time. If the mixture starts to split, you can add a tablespoon of flour, however it shouldn’t split as long as everything isn’t too cold.
Once all the egg has been incorporated, you can add the flour and continue to mix until a smooth dough is formed. The pastry should be soft but not sticky, if it sticks to your finger when poked just add a bit more flour.
You can leave the pastry in a cool place (not the fridge) for half an hour to relax although it is fine to use it straight away. Roll out on a well floured surface. It doesn’t keep well in the fridge as it becomes hard and unworkable although any excess is fine to make into shells and freeze for later use.