About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Flaky Sweet Pastry - So Simple Even a Child...

I can't claim to have mastered pastry although I take stabs at it now and then, only to prove I need more practice.  Recently, I encountered a young pastry chef from South Africa in a tiny resort town in the mountains of North Carolina.  Carla has top training and had worked in some fine resorts and clubs.  Now, she's set up shop on Hwy 107 in Cashiers, N.C. in a tiny kitchen outfitted with an Aga stove and producing some exquisite confections. I'd sampled enough of her flaky bottomed tarts to know this was the guru to show me the way.  She shared her simple recipe and pared it down for 4 pie size discs. I found it was still a bit much for my food processor to handle but it got it done.  It's really about keeping everything cold and being efficient when you roll out the cold dough.  I still need practice but it does produce a lovely tender pate sucre.  Omit the sugar and you have pate bris`ee.

True to training, Carla gave me the measurements in pounds and ounces. Professionals weigh everything, but I converted the measurements to conventional measure for the home cook.

Now here are the tips.
  • Everything should be cold. I mix the dry ingredients in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  •  Cube the butter then put it in a bowl and back in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • If you have a stone or marble surface, chill it with a rimmed baking sheet covered with ice for 20 minutes. It doesn't hurt to do same to any surface you plan to work dough on. Lucky you if you have a well seasoned pastry cloth and if you do, you don't need me.
  • Chill the rolling pin, then flour it.
  • Chill the cooking tin or pie plate and after the dough is applied, chill 10 minutes before baking
  • Roll dough out from the center to make it circular. It won't be perfect. 

For 2 crusts:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cake flour
2 sticks + 1 tbls  cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp sugar
3 oz ice water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar with a few pulses in a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse until until the mixture is small pea size ( about 15 pulses).  Add the ice water through the feed tube with the processor on and process just until the dough forms a ball.  Remove the dough and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 hour or more before rolling out on a floured surface.  If baking blind, prick the bottom with a fork and weigh with dried beans or pie weights on parchment paper.  Bake according to your recipe.

No comments:

Post a Comment