Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Making a good pastry case

I made an onion tart last night for supper, based on a recipe from Annie Bells' "The Country Cook". As per usual, I adapted it to suit my needs, but the resulting pastry case was worth mentioning I think. My pastry is usually quite good, but I need to get the Rayburn up really hot to make a good job, and my shortcrust pastry never seems short enough! So, this is my version of a good shortcrust pastry case:

8oz good plain flour, sifted
6oz butter at room temperature (or butter/lard mix)
1 egg, separated
Cold water to mix
pinch of salt

Sift flour into a big bowl, add the cut up butter and rub in; it will get a bit sticky-ish due to the high proportion of butter.Add the salt, mix, then the egg yolk and enough cold water to bind. Give it a brief light knead to bring it all together. If you have time, rest it in the fridge for a while before lining your tin, but mine was successful used straight away. The resting makes it less likely to shrink when cooking. Bake it blind for 20 minutes in a hot oven - I used tin foil and pinto beans for this. Remove from oven, remove foil and beans, then paint the bottom of the case with lightly beaten egg white; back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so until crisp and lightly coloured.
The egg white dries as it bakes, sealing the bottom of the case, so preventing filling soaking in and giving a soggy bottom. I've used this method before, but doing it this way uses the yolk as well, making the pastry richer and saving having an odd egg yolk hanging about.
Can be used for sweet or savoury tarts, etc. I'll be using this method from now on I think, the pastry was very short and crisp, much better than the standard half fat to flour I've been using for years.

1 comment:

Jayne said...

Nothing beats pastry made with an egg - I can remember my nan telling me that was the secret to her lovely pastry. The tart looks Delicious.

Love Jayne xxxx