Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shortcrust Pastry

I had some fillings left, so I use the shortcrust pastry to finish those fillings. The shortcrust pastry does taste good but not as great as the puff pastry. I feel that it's a little dry and makes me thirsty faster.

The secret to making a good shortcrust pastry is to work the dough quickly and lightly, in a cool room if possible, on a cool surface, and preferably not on a hot day. Once the dough is formed, chilling it for 30 minutes or so helps relax the gluten and set the fat, making the dough manageable and less likely to shrink.

Source: Baking A Common Sense Guide, 
Bay Books 
This will make about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pastry; enough to line a 23 cm (9 in) tin.
250g (9 oz/2 cups) all purpose flour
150g (5½ oz) chilled, chopped unsalted butter,
2-4 tbsp chilled water or more

Sift the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin. 
Now add the butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour. Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible. As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there. 
Now sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and, finally, bring it together with your fingertips. When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean. If this hasn't happened, then add a spot more water. 
Press, don't knead, the dough together into a ball. Handle gently, keeping your actions light and to a minimum. 
Press the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest. 

Making the baked curry puff:
Preheat the oven 415°F (210°C). Divide the dough into six portions. Roll out each portion to 1/8 inch (3mm) thick on a floured surface. Using a 6¼ in (16cm) diameter place as a guide, cut six circles. (I used the cookie cutter to make the circles.) Divide the fillings among the circles. Brush the edges with beaten egg and bring the pastry together to form a semi-circle. Pinch the edges into a frill and place on the tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350°F (180°C) and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

If you making shortcrust pastry for pies/tarts:
Roll out between two sheets of baking paper or plastic wrap, or on a lightly floured surface. Always roll from the center outwards, rotating the dough.
If you used baking paper to roll out the pastry, remove the top sheet, invert the pastry over the tin, and then peel away the paper. If you rolled on a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry back over the rolling pin so it is hanging, and ease it into the tin. 
Once the pastry is in the tin, quickly lift up the sides so they don't break over the edges of the tin. Use a small ball of excess dough to help ease and press the pastry shell into the side of the tin. Allow the excess to hang over the side and, if using a tart tin, roll the rolling over the top of the tin to cut off the excess pastry. If you using a glass or ceramic pie dish, use a small knife to cut away the excess pastry. 
However gently you handle dough, it is bound to shrink a little, so let it sit a little above the side of the tin. If your dough has 'bunched' down the sides,press the sides of the pastry with your thumbs to flatten it a little. Refrigerate the pastry in the tin for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven.

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