The Hungry Chef – Foolproof Short Crust Pastry
Something a little different this week - Foolproof Short Crust Pastry and some Cooking Tips. Everybody loves pastries of some sort or another – whether they be sweet or savoury. I have developed a simple little recipe that can be used for either, with a small little tweet done to it. This is really a simple and easy recipe and it keeps in the fridge for up to 7 days and freezer for 4 months, so you can always have a batch that is ready to use when you need it.
Makes: 2 tart cases
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 Minutes
¼ tsp Salt
1 ½ Cups ice cold Butter, cut into as small cubes as possible, then put into the freezer for 5 minutes
1 Cup Ice water
Using a pastry cutter or a food prossesor, mix the flour, salt and cut in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs, then slowly add in the water until the dough comes together into a ball. Now it is ready to rest in the fridge for 1 hour and you are good to go.
Most important thing to remember is that everything needs to be as cold as possible, and if you have small lumps of butter in the dough, that is fine as this makes it flakey when cooked.
Now this recipe is perfect for savoury dishes, if you would like to use it for sweet dishes, just add in 4 TBSP icing sugar with the flour, and add one egg just before putting in the water.
Some trade secrets:
There is a simple little thing in the kitchen that you learn as a chef and that is everything in cooking works on ratios, for example if you’re making bread you always need to add 55% moisture to original flour weight, 1.6% dried yeast or 4% fresh yeast and 2% salt.
Crème brule: 1 egg yolk to 100ml cream to 15g castor sugar. The exact same ratio applies to making “custard” or better known as Crème Anglaise.
White sauce or béchamel: 50g flour, 50g butter per liter of milk.
If you are making gravy and you want to thicken it to the perfect consistency, it is 65g flour per liter of liquid.
Quiche: you need 1 whole egg per 150ml cream, and I always add 20g grated cheddar as well as cheese on top, I find that it sets better and you don’t end up with a soggy pastry at the bottom. Now what you add in after that is limitless, it’s all up to your imagination. Here are a couple of my favourites: Sun dried Tomato, olive and feta. Chorizo, blue cheese and onion marmalade. Smoked salmon and leek. Biltong and brie and cranberry sauce, and the list goes on and on….
If you are baking a cake and you want it to be more moist add oil instead of butter, the more oil you add the more “moist” the cake will be.
Butter and cream make everything taste better!!!
Salt and Pepper are like husband and wife and you cannot go without them in food.
Fresh herbs are far better than dried herbs, always use fresh herbs, Superspar sells a large variety of fresh Papillon herbs and they are relatively cheap. If you find you use a lot, grow a small herb garden in some pots on a sunny window sill in the kitchen and use as you need.
I will host another cooking demonstration during our Amazing Winter Warmer on 28 July at the St Francis Links - call us on 042-200 4500 to enquire, and those of you with kids, it is perfect as we’ll host them with movies, food, milkshake and a baby sitter for only R35. The demo will be on the meal that is being served. More info next week!
Bon appetit… If there are any other tips that you would like, feel free to come and visit me at the kitchen at St Francis Links I am always available.