The Joys Of Pastry

So many things to make, so little time!

Here we go then, a list of uses for pastry and some basic, useful info.

First things first, I usually use my shortcrust pastry because it’s quick, cheap and easy:

12oz (300g) Plain flour (or wholemeal)

6oz (150g) Butter or Margarine

Cold water

Rub fat into flour with fingertips (or cut in with a knife) until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add water a tablespoon at a time until dough binds together. Chill or freeze until needed.

I love that I can make batches to freeze and just defrost on the day it’s needed, but you can always use ready-made filo or puff pastry (or make your own if you have loads of time on your hands).

Roll on floured surface and cut to size for recipe. Brush with milk or egg and cook at 180C/GM4 for around 15-20mins (usually middle of oven unless otherwise stated).

Pastry is flexible: There is nothing wrong with using the pastry above for sweet treats but to make sweet pastry use half the weight of sugar than there is fat (so for recipe above 3oz).

 

So Recipes, here are just a few…..

  1. Sausage Rolls: Cook some regular sausages until light brown colour (not fully cooked, just like sealing beef), cut pastry into rectangles (width of pastry length of the sausages so you can see ends of sausages). Roll sausages in pastry and seal join/coat with milk and bake.
  2. Cheese Parcels
  3. Pie topping: Roll and trim to the size of the dish the filling is in and coat (milk or beaten egg) then cook. I suggest that you bake the pastry as usual until firm and then move to top of oven for a few minutes to really colour the pie. (Like this…. Simple Chicken Pie )
  4.  Canapes: Make 7cm (almost 3″) squares of pastry and fold in a 1cm (just under 1/2″) border all round. Bake empty then fill with a heaped spoonful of any filling you would put in a sandwich/jacket potato (eg: cottage cheese, coronation chicken, prawns in sauce) or add any pizza topping before cooking (such as ham, cheese and pineapple…. because, let’s be honest, melted cheese is just the best!)
  5. Wellington: Use a large cut of boneless, lean meat (beef tenderloin or gammon probably best. Season and sear the meat in frying pan (brown on all out sides). roll out a rectangle of pastry (like for sausage rolls but bigger). Add a sauce or vegetable to the pastry (such as wilted spinach or Jamie Oliver does a nice mushroom beef wellington) Roll the meat in pastry and cook according to weight of the meat (you can get cooking times online per pound or kg, but you have to know weight to do that: so either from label or ask the butcher if buying it fresh!)

 

I’m sure there’s hundreds more, let me know your favourites

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