I decided it was a good time to stock up on some food for our upcoming ski trip. First step was to make pastry. There are a lot of recipes around so I blended a few of them.
2 1/2 cups of Flour, 250g Unsalted Butter, 1 egg, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp Sugar, 2tbsp water, and if you have it 1 tsp baking powder. I doubled the entire recipe as I was stocking the freezer and feeding 4 so I used 5 cups of flour and 500g butter etc.
First step is to freeze the butter. Make sure it was the unsalted kind. This helps a lot with cutting it up small enough to blend in the flour.
You want to Cut it into small cubes. Be very careful cutting up the frozen butter as you can get hurt if you slip. Because it is frozen you have time to sowork the butter.
I find that if you use only chilled butter, it becomes very soft before you are done whereas the frozen works well.
Next mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder (don’t worry if you don’t have the later as we will be making pies so the rising is not critical).
Now mix in the butter and cut it into the flour until it is well blended and the lumps of butter are gone.
I use 2 spatulas to start… you can see here the lumps are coated and are blending in. You may find the lumps are too frozen still… just be patient as with the constant motion of the spatulas in a criss-cross motion the lumps will break up.
Then towards the end I use my hands… the warmth from my hands helps the final blending in of the butter into a nice crumbly mix. You can feel the dough forming at this stage.
Now mix all the liquid ingredients (egg, water, lemon juice) in a mixing jug and add it to the dough. It will start to bind the mix together and form into a real dough very rapidly. You may find you need to use some extra water for the rest. I find that recipes are never exact as there is some variability due to humidity etc. You just need to get a feel for the process and feel of the dough when it is ready. Remember that these pictures show a double recipe. I find that it is pretty forgiving.. no need to worry about being precise.
Then form the dough into patties (lumps) that you will eventually roll to make the pastry. Wrap the dough in plastic film and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before using. My double recipe made 4 manageable lumps of dough.
When you use it you will need to remove it from the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling so that it becomes pliable (as the butter warms) and does not crack when rolled.