Monday, June 27, 2011

Shortcut Shortcrust Pastry

According to the video I watched, making Shortcrust Pastry by hand is nothing to be afraid of. Despite the fact that I have watched the same video over and over again for no less than 20X... I was afraid, very afraid. Will it puff? too much butter? too much flour? did i knead too much? did i knead enough? too much water? it's too soft! it's too tough! Will it taste good?

Well, after successfully making the quick version of the Shortcrust Pastry Dough, I am happy to report, that it is indeed very easy. Quoting Gordon Ramsay on his YouTube video, he said Shortcrust Pastry is the easiest thing to do in the world. Gordon used a food processor in this video, since I have not invested anything else in my kitchen other than my small Imarflex Oven, needless to say, I did not have a food processor, that is why i had to do the pastry by hand!

To start of talking about Shortcrust Pastry, I should first give you the ingredients:

1 cup cubed Unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Salt (if you're using regular butter, skip the salt)
1/3 cups of COLD water

(This recipe I used yields about 3 sheets of elongated pastry, enough to cover 1.5" thick salmon)

Easy ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. Now the fun part, mashing them together with your hands! Watch this video that helped me so much with the technique on how to mash up the butter with the flour.

What's important with mashing up butter and flour with your hand is to make sure your hands are clean (of course) and that they are not too warm.

* A little trivia that I got from the Japanese - the reason sushi are always prepared by men, it's not an issue of gender, but they say women's hands are usually 1° warmer than men's and it's not so good when you're preparing raw fish *

You have to make sure that you don't leave the butter-flour mixture unattended especially if you live in a tropical country like the Philippines, you don't want the butter to melt into the flour; if you need to pee or whatever, pop in into the ref for a while. It has to be light that it looks like bread crumbs. Don't worry if all the butter aren't evenly incorporated for the butter is what makes the crust flaky. If you have butter lumps that are tapioca-ball-sized, that's ok.

It is best to make shortcrust pastry ahead of time, you will need to chill the pastry for at least 20 minutes or overnight. When you are ready to use it, make sure it's cold, don't let it sit out to defrost. If the dough is too big, use a knife to cut it. You can knead it first with your hands until it is manageable enough to be rolled with a rolling pin. Don't worry about the dough cracking on the side, or when you accidentally puncture a hole, you can just mend it with another piece of dough.

Traditionally, how you make pastry long hand is you have to hammer in cold butter into the pastry and fold it into one fourth's until the butter is equally distributed in sheets -- this is traditionally how you'll make French Croissants.

Here are just photos of my "test run" with the pastry to see if it were a success, I didn't know what else to put so I sandwiched a spam in it.

*Jin is my nephew, hihi

*crust is soft and flaky

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