let’s work on our technique shall we?
i’ve was trying to help a friend navigate her way through the pecan pie recipe. in trying to do this i realised that the recipe method, especially for pastry can be interpreted in many ways and if you haven’t tried it before it can be quite daunting.
in order to help remedy this i decided to take you through making my favourite shortcrust pastry. pâte sablèe is my pastry of choice for a couple of reasons…
- you use a whole egg so you don’t have to figure out what to do with a spare egg white
- you don’t need a food processor or any fancy equipment
- it is simple to make and you don’t have to worry about heat so much
- its results in a lovely crust that you can cut easily and breaks well under a spoon or fork
i use the recipe from larousse. i use either unsalted or salted butter, whatever i have in the fridge. use the best butter you can afford. i can afford mid-range butter. i don’t think it affects the end result as much as people claim. the pursuit of best quality ingredients should not be an obstacle to treating people to something yummy to eat. understand how different quality ingredients behave. i’ll discuss this more in the chocolate custard post.
measure out 250g of cake flour. don’t worry about sifting. i have taken to using stoneground flour recently. i don’t know if its that much better than normal flour but it makes me feel better about all the cake and baked stuff that i eat. it’s all in my mind…but i’m ok with that.
cream 125g of butter. what does that mean? it means let the butter get to room temperature, measure out the quantity you need and then go at that quantity with a whisk till its soft and creamy looking…like so…
creaming the butter makes it easy to mix into the flour. you want to work the flour as little as possible.
i place the butter on top of the weighed out flour and get to work blending the two ingredients together. i made a quick video to help you see what this looks like. apologies for the street noises. you can view the video here.
try to use only your fingertips, breaking down the butter so that it gets into contact with the flour.
once you’ve got the butter and flour combined add a whole egg and 125g of castor sugar.
combine gently as before. once it starts to come together you can be a little firmer with the dough applying some pressure to form a ball. at this point the dough should look like this.
you will see that the dough isn’t very sticky. the clumps on my fingers in the video have mostly adhered themselves to the dough ball.
this recipe is enough pastry for a 25cm pan and a 20cm pan. for this reason i separate the dough into two portions roughly two-fifths and three-fifths.
at this point shape the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly. It makes it easier to roll out if its circular.
wrap each portion in a double layer of cling wrap before placing in the fridge. when you are wrapping be sure to squeeze out any air.
you need the pastry to chill for at least an hour. it is worth noting that i happily leave the dough in the fridge for a week…sometimes 10 days before using it. if the pastry starts to darken then you should definitely throw it away otherwise feel free to use it.
leave it out for a few minutes if you have had it in the fridge for an extended period of time.
i’m going to sign off here. tomorrow i’ll take you through rolling out and baking the pastry. in the meantime i’m going to figure out what to put in this tart. i’m playing with the idea of a chocolate cream and a pecan caramel combo. i would like to demonstrate making caramel as well, so the next few posts are going to be focussed on techniques that you can apply to a range of sweet things.
i hope the video was helpful albeit very very amateur. please look for me on instagram.
lessons learnt: get a gopro