Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Make at Home Flaky Pastry: If You Want.

If you’re a pastry lover, eeer sorry, what am I saying –if? As a pastry lover, you will know that the really puffypuff stuff, all buttery and flaky and lightlightlight, is hard to beat. A vehicle to such a vast number of treats, both sweet and savoury and often ever so speedily too, it is a very handy standby to have ready and waiting in your fridge or freezer.

Relying on some good shop bought stuff is not in the least bit shameful, all the big telly chefs say so, and I’m sure James Martin has never lied in his life, probably, so whenever it’s a bargain (and I have room in the freezer-not always) I stock up.

Of course though, I’m going to give you a recipe so you can make it yourself, not to make you feel like you should, but because sometimes, the glow of self satisfaction is worth a bit of extra effort. And the recipe, not being strictly proper puff pastry, takes 5% of the effort of the real stuff (which takes daysanddaysanddays-ish) but delivers 100% when it comes to results.

When it comes to uses for this lovely stuff, hop over here to see the treat of a supper dish for which today’s pastry is destined, or hold on to your hats as I have a party/picnic food staple coming up in the next few days. Shop bought of crafted with your own fair hands...enjoy. With Love and Cake.

Homemade Flaky Pastry

A few notes:
  • As with all pastry, the MOST important thing is to get the mixing and kneading and rolling done and dusted in as quick a time and with as little input from your too warm hands as possible. You will be able to see little streaks of butter not mixed in, but that’s good, it means flakes. Also keeping all equipment involved in the process as chilled as poss is good. Really that means only making it on a cold day in a cold room, but as pastry requirements are not restricted to such occasions, we’ll just have to do what we can. 
  • This freezes really well, just keep wrapped up snugly and defrost in the fridge when the times comes.
Makes a similar amount to a 375g packet (which many recipes ask for)

You will need

110g butter
175g plain flour
pinch salt

  • First job is to weigh out your butter, leaving as much as possible in one block. Then wrap it back up in its packet and pop in the freezer for about half an hour.
  • Meanwhile, weigh out the flour and sift, with the salt, into a large bowl.
  • When the butter has had it's time and is nice and firm, unwrap the packet to halfway so there's one exposed end and you can hold on to the other, wrapped end.
  • Dip the buttery end in the flour and grate, with a coarse grater, so big chunky ribbons of butter tumble into a mound on top the flour. You might want to keep dipping the butter in the flour to make grating easier.
  • When it's all grated, use a metal spoon or pallet knife to toss the butter ribbons in the flour so it all gets a good coating.
  • To bring it together and form a dough you need to add some water. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water at a time, stirring it in first with the metal spoon or knife and eventually, when it needs a little help in the final stages, with your hands, bringing it gently together to one lump of dough. It wont be smooth and shiny but that's absolutely fine.
  • Now to shape it into a disc and wrap up tightly in cling film and leave it to chill in the fridge for half an hour until you're ready whip up some pastry delight, or pop it in the freezer for another day, and feel all smug and prepared. Look you make pastry, good work.

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