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SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY

St Patrick's Day and its novelty green food has been and gone for another year, the 'wild' times are behind us and the Mir Space Station failed to make an impact on me . . . so I am back again and by popular demand it is with another pastry recipe and a suggestion for its use.

On that last point, when I was in the USA in the New Year I was lucky enough to get hold of some of the food the astronauts take into space. These foods are freeze dried; a freezing process that also dehydrates the food to virtual zero moisture content. They are then vacuum packed and therefore have virtually an indefinite shelf life; they can last almost indefinitely if left unopened. Now amongst these foods was freeze dried ice cream. Now am I the only one that finds this strange? Ice cream is a frozen product anyway, the joy of eating it is that it is creamy, wet and cold . . . so why freeze dry it? Who would want to eat dehydrated ice cream and if it is dried, dry and not cold is it really ice cream? Food for thought anyway . . . . .

But back to pastry . . . my menage of trainee chefs 'suffer' their first practical assessment next week and will be using this pastry recipe as part of a fresh fruit flan. Pastry recipes are many and varied but this is the best one I know for a sweet, short pastry. It is easy to make, a delight to roll and has a light, delicate finish when cooked . . . so no more excuses for those horrible, tough, chewy tarts and flans.

Join me next week when I will tart this pastry up by making a tart of the most popular request . . . maybe a German pflaume, the American banoffee - you choose, email me and let me know!

Ever fancied a cooking holiday? Ever fancied learning
to make bread - www.cookingholidays.co.uk

Ingredients for Sweet Short Pastry

flour

300

gm

butter (softened)

100

gm

icing sugar

100

gm

eggs

100

gm

lemon juice

sq

How to make Sweet Short Pastry

  • Sift flour and icing sugar together three times (this will evenly distribute the gluten content)
  • Place onto workbench or into a bowl, place in butter and work with fingertips only until a crumbly texture
  • Make a well and add approx. 85 ml of the eggs
  • Gradually draw in flour to make a homogeneous paste, add the remaining eggs if required
  • Knead the paste two or three times with heel of hand until very smooth
  • Roll into ball, flatten slightly, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for several hours

Chef's Tip for Sweet Short Pastry

Flour contains something called gluten that many people have an allergy to; it is this substance that allows breads, pasta and pastries etc to be made and gives them their properties of elasticity . In breads and pasta you need a high gluten content, but for pastries a flour with a low gluten content is required. Think of these strands of gluten as elastic bands, for pastries short ones are required for that melt in the mouth texture, how to achieve this is covered in my cooking tips this week.

But another thing this gluten content does is to govern how mush liquid the flour/pastry will absorb, therefore a recipe can react differently each time it is made and may absorb less liquid. The eggs in this recipe therefore is the maximum that should be needed and a little less may actually be required.

Chef's terminology:

  lt
=
litres   tsp = teaspoon
  ml
=
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
  kg
=
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
  gm
=
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .


Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand