Saturday, October 6

Shortcut Pastry

I love flans and quiches, but too often resort to buying ready-made pastry cases. It's just inertia, as I know I can make pastry in five minutes flat with a little help from my 20 year old food processor (a wedding present, thank you Mum!).

I favour a really rich pastry, say 14 oz flour, 7 oz butter, 3 egg yolks and iced water. Pastry this rich can be very crumbly, difficult to roll out and bake blind. A couple of weeks ago I tried out a couple of tips which I am pleased to pass on.

First, don't even try to roll out the pastry to fit the flan tin. Instead, roll the dough into a sausage shape when you make it (wrap it in cling film while you rest it). Then, to make the pastry case, just cut pound-coin thickness slices off the roll, and push them into the tin.

Just fill up any gaps as you go. It's so much easier than having the dough tear or stretch, and you don't waste any as off-cuts either.

The second tip is about baking blind. Usually the books tell you to line the pastry case with foil, then add baking beans to weigh down the pastry. I always find that the tinfoil sticks to the pastry, and it rarely shapes itself properly to the pastry case. So, don't use tinfoil, use clingfilm!

Don't worry, it won't melt at the heat used do bake pastry. It conforms perfectly to the shape of the pastry case, and never sticks.

The finished cheese and vegetable flan in all its glory...


Sky said...

Wasn't there something in the media some years ago about telling consumers to *never* allow cling film to come in contact with food when cooking or reheating because there is a transfer of known carcinogens from plastic to consumable??

Or have I missed the point again?? :)

Amalee Issa said...

Doesn't Rachel ALlen roll out pastry between two sheets of clingfilm, and I'm sure I've seen that Scots chef on ready steady, cook with clingfilm? Either way, I like your idea of making discs of pastry - very clever. And although I'm up and awake for half an hour, your photos are making me hungry!

Sky said...

Apparently it was MAFF in 1990 that issued the advisory... so it's been around a long time.

I had a look round for more info and found this but it's hardly conclusive either way! :)

Also I read there is supposed to be a statement on the box telling you what the wrap should be used for and what it shouldn't be used for!

Staple Remover said...

OK People.

I was wondering if anyone would raise the PVC migration issue.

As Sky points out in his second post, opinion about cooking with clingfilm is equivocal to say the least.

I tend to think that any possible risks are so small as to be negligible for a home cook. I can't help feeling that the original scare stories of the late 80's had more to do with fear and mistrust over that evil "radiation source", the microwave oven.

Amalee: Ah, Ready Steady Cook! I have to confess that my wife and I, the Legal Eagle and her Beau, have actually played this for real, and eaten the results.

(Before you ask, myself and the Beau made pasta, from scratch. The girls did a Tarte Tatin for pud.) Sadly, this was before the days of blogs and digital cameras. We have only memories...

The Eagle said...

I remember that meal! In fact, I think it was the last time my other half cooked anything for me, and it was several years ago.

As for the cling film point, I'm with Sky on this one. Why not use greaseproof paper? Works for me.

Staple Remover said...

Yaaay! The Eagle has landed! Welcome to the Blogosphere.

I find that the biggest problem with baking blind is keeping the sides up For this, I still think clingfilm takes the shape better and releases more easily.

Mind you, the Eagle has made more pastry cases than I have had hot dinners:-)