Perfect Pastry

Tomato and roquefort tart

No soggy bottoms here!

Puff pastry

250g plain four

60g melted butter, cooled

200g cold butter

Large pinch of salt

5floz cold water

Few drops of lemon juice

 

Sieve the flour with the salt into a large bowl.  Add the cooled butter, lemon juice and water and mix to a dough that is not to sticky and knead until smooth.

Rest for one hour.

Roll out so that you have four flaps coming from the middle of the bloc and place the cold butter pat in the middle and fold the flaps over the butter so that you have a square as thick on top of the butter as it is underneath.

Now roll into a rectangle but don’t push down too hard as this will force the butter out.  Once you have the rectangle fold the ends into the middle and then fold in half again.  Now place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Repeat the folding as above twice and then rest for an hour then your pastry is ready to use.

 

Choux pastry

For profiteroles or chocolate éclairs

100g butter

Pinch of sugar

125g plain flour

Pinch of salt

4 eggs

½ pint cold water

 

Bring the butter, water and sugar to a simmer and then add the flour and salt and cook on a low heat until the mix comes away from the edge of the pan.  Remove from the heat.

Place in a mixer and beat until cool.  Beat in the eggs starting with a little at a time until it reaches dropping consistency.

Pipe onto a baking tray and cook in a ore heated oven until crisp and golden brown.

Tips to perfecting Choux Pastry:

If the resulting pastry is greasy or heavy then the basic mixture is overcooked

If they are soft – then the flour may not have been aerated enough, eggs not beaten in well, the oven is too cool or they are undercooked

Once you have piped them out, with a wet finger, push the points down on top before cooking

 

Short crust pastry

200g plain flour

50g lard

2-3 tbsp cold water

50g butter

Pinch of salt

Sieve the flour and salt together and rub in the fat so that it resembles a sandy texture. Make a well in the middle and add sufficient water to make a firm paste.  Rest for about 30 minutes before using.  The amount of water you use varies due to the type of flour you use, whether you have warm hands or the weather outside!

 

Creme patissiere 

4 egg yolks

60g caster sugar

60g corn flour

15floz milk

1 vanilla pod

2 tsp vanilla essence

Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla.

Cream the yolk and sugar together until pale then add the corn flour.

Pour the milk over the egg mix and return to the pan, over a low heat stir the mix, bring to the boil and remove from the heat.  Allow to cool slightly and stir in the cream and butter.

Cover with grease proof paper to stop a skin forming when cooling.

 

Sausage Rolls

200g puff pastry

400g sausage meat

2 slices of white bread, crusts removed and soaked in milk

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped tarragon, chives and chervil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely grated

Salt and pepper

Egg yolk

In a hot pan sautee the onion in a little butter until soft and without colour, add the garlic and then cook for a further minute and put to one side to cool

Squeeze as much milk from the bread as possible and chop it up and add to the onion then add the sausage meat and herbs.  Season and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll out puff pastry to 3mm thick into a rectangle.  Place the sausage mixture in the middle all the way along, brush the edge with egg yolk, fold over to cover the meat and seal the edge with a fork.

Cut to size, brush the tops with egg wash and then bake in an oven at 200c until golden and crisp.