Last year for Pie Month, I made some mini pecan pies. I didn’t blog them because although I started with an Ann Seranne recipe, when it became apparent that they would be too sweet even for me, I deviated from the instructions. While they were well-received, I wasn’t completely happy with the pastry – it seemed to me to be a bit dry, bland and pale. So this year, when I decided to make chocolate-praline tartlets, I also thought I might experiment with an enriched short crust, using The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year, as the most reliable source I have for such things.
(From The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year, Basic Cooking Methods, Pastry Making by Margaret Coombes and Suzanne Wakelin of Good Housekeeping Institute, 1976)
preparation time: 10 minutes
5oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
3oz unsalted butter or margarine
1 egg yolk
1 ½ level teaspoons caster sugar
3 – 4 teaspoons water
Sift the flour and salt into a wide bowl. Cut up fat and rub it into the flour with the fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Beat the egg yolk, sugar and 2 teaspoons of the water in a separate bowl and pour it into the flour mixture. Stir with a round bladed knife, adding more water as necessary until the mixture begins to form a dough. Gather this into a ball and turn it on to a floured surface. Knead lightly.
- Am I the only one who loves the rubbing-in method because I can feel it counteracting the muscle tension caused by high levels of computer use?
- I left the pastry to chill in the fridge for about 40 minutes and then rolled and cut it out , leaving the cases to rest for about another 40 minutes.
- I didn’t use baking beans, an error – they shrank a little.
I think I was more proud of the pastry than I was of the filling. It was golden, well-flavoured and had formed tiny layers, trapping air and making it light and crisp. It passed without comment by my guests, but I’m satisfied with that. Pastry is the frame on the pie picture: you only notice it, when it isn’t right.
Enriched by Elly