Monday, 22 September 2014

A rainy Saturday and sweet pastry pies

Gosh I don't know what came over me. Well, OK, maybe I do. I've been eating extra carefully lately, and have started missing baking - the soothing activity of baking at least as much as the eating. So on a quiet and wet Saturday afternoon, when I couldn't not bake anymore, I decided to do something I haven't done for a while, and bake something I haven't baked before. If you follow me.

Well, I have tried before, but not with any success. I had a go at my grandmother's homemade pastry quite a few christmases ago, and it was a disaster. But I have really wanted to make it work, and something gave me the urge over the weekend to try Annabel Langbein's sweet pastry.

 Saturday was a long wet day and the kids played together beautifully. They have been doing so well lately, and I credit school. We had a 4 year old boy in our house for quite a while. I don't know if you know them, but they are full of large, new doses of testosterone, and they have a bit of a reputation. People say they settle down once they turn 5, perhaps because their bodies are getting used to the changes, but I think school is a great influence. Reuben matures when he gets out and about and hangs out with different kids and different adults, and the long time at school gives him a long time to learn how to be mature. And he brings it home with him. I know he also loves playing with Esther, and as he doesn't get to do it so much anymore, he really makes the most of it. They were just magic on Saturday. I found some head space and got loads done. Amazing!

So. Pastry. It is quick and simple, and I made mine in the mixer (I'm pretty sure I tried it by hand last time which was probably the problem). I swapped sugar for glucose of course, which will make it less sweet. And I made half of the recipe below, as I like to do when I'm experimenting. We decided to make little pies in our large muffin tins, but of course you can do anything you like.

You need to bake pastry blind before you turn it in to your own specific masterpiece, so you partially bake it, weighing it down with official baking beans, or using rice if you don't have any beans. Once that's done, you add your fruit or other filling and bake again.

Below are my instructions using Annabel's recipe:

Sweet Pastry
360g butter, softened
3/4 cup glucose or sugar
1 egg
3 1/3 cups flour
pinch salt
Beat the softened butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the egg and combine. 
Gently mix in the flour and salt. 
Grease your pie tin or muffin tins, then roll the dough out til it is about 5mm thick. I suggest rolling it straight on to a lightly floured bench top (work surface), and be prepared to regularly dust your rolling pin with more flour. Shape the dough in to your pie tin, or use a bowl to cut rounds that will fit in to the muffin tins.

Place in to the fridge to chill for 10 minutes, and heat the oven to 160 degrees. 

Line the dough with baking paper, then drop baking beans or rice on top of the baking paper, and place in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes. It will be ready when you lift the paper off and it doesn't stick (but watch also for browning edges). 

In the meantime, I cooked apple and boysenberries with a drizzle of honey. Place the fruit or other filling in to the pastry cases, and bake for another 10 minutes. 

(If you are making a large pie you probably want a topping. You will have used half for the base, so place the other half over your filling, and brush with milk before baking).

This post is dedicated to a friend, who loves Annabel almost as much as I love my friend. And who celebrates whenever I have a good day. 

Reuben's drawing of their afternoon picnic (yes, in a cupboard - see above).

1 comment:

  1. How exciting - a new recipe for pastry! I am officially on the lookout for opportunities to give it a try...

    I used to always make my own pastry - as a child, I don't think I realised that it was the sort of thing you could just buy (and certainly couldn't have imagined why you would!) But by "pastry" I am strictly talking about old-fashioned shortcrust - rub fat into flour, add a bit of sugar for sweet or not for savoury, mix with cold water, chill for a bit and job done. For variation, plain flour could be supplemented with wholemeal for those healthier recipes - that's about as exciting as my pastry got. And, truth be told, I didn't ever really make it *very* often.
    These days, I'm not averse to just picking up a box from the supermarket, but feel slightly guilty every time I do - I don't much like paying for things I can make myself, on which basis I would normally only buy puff or filo, because I think it's reasonable not to be able to make those from scratch! More often, though, if I can't be bothered to make pastry, I just stop at the "rubbing in" bit of the recipe and make crumble instead, because it's just easier and more reliable.
    But you have inspired me. I'll add pastry to my list of habits to get back into. :-)