Friday, August 31, 2007

Pastry Tutorial & Tips

I spent the morning baking cherry tarts and thought I would give ya'll a tutorial on making pastry and a few tips too. Most times my pastry turns out light and flaky but I have had a few disasters! Today was a good day :) This is a simple way to make tarts without trying to jam them into muffin cups and the baking cups make for much easier cleanup too.

You'll need:

5 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb lard
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
Cold water
Extra flour

Combine flour and salt. Cut lard into pieces and add to the flour. My lard was a bit warm and I should have stuck it into the fridge but I didn't.

Use a pastry blender or two knives to blend everything together so it resembles course oatmeal.

Take a "one cup" measuring cup and add one egg and a tablespoon of vinegar.

Mix the two together.

Add enough cold water to fill it to the one cup line.

Add enough to form into a dough... a bit at a time, and it's okay if you don't use the whole cup.

Dump the whole works onto a floured pastry sheet or your floured counter.

Knead into a ball. If your dough is really sticky, add a bit more flour or stick in the fridge to cool it down.

Depending on what you are doing, cut into separate pieces. I cut into four because I was making tarts and freezing the rest.

Put three of them back into the bowl and stick in the fridge. Take the fourth one and roll out to desired thickness.

I continuously flipped my dough and keep adding flour to the pastry sheet and the rolling pin. It holds together really well so keep flipping, turning, and rolling.

When I have it all rolled out I use a biscuit cutter and baking cups to make my tart shells. Medium or large cups are a great size.

Flatten the baking cup and place your pastry in the centre.

Place into muffin tins.

I don't like large tarts and these are the perfect size for a snack.

Before adding any filling I stick the shells into the freezer for at least ten minutes, this helps prevent a soggy crust. While they are freezing I put away the rest of my pastry for another day. I flatten it down and vacuum seal it. If you don't have a vacuum sealer a freezer bag will do fine. The reason I flatten them is better storage and much faster thawing when I need it. You can also freeze the shells themselves but my freezer has a tendency to get things thrown about and broken pieces of tart shells don't hold much :)

Depending on how much I have or what I intend to do I label them like this:

Or this:

After I put away the extra pastry it's time to fill the tarts! Today it's cherry :) If my youngest daughter wasn't home I would have taken the very little bit of pastry left over from the tarts and made stars or circles to place on top... but she is a pastry nut and loves to eat it raw (ewwww). So with her home you'll have to imagine that they look quite pretty and it's a great way to use up all your pastry :)

I then cook them at a high heat for about 5 minutes (425 degrees), turn the oven down (400 degrees) and cook for another 20 minutes or so. When they are done I take them out and immediately remove them with a knife. The reason; just in case the filling has boiled over, because once they cool down they are impossible to remove. Discard the baking cups and enjoy!


Pat V said...

Hi Kansas

You make that look so easy even I might try it. Pastry has always been tough when I make it. Tarts look great!!

Mom said...

Hi Kansas
Great tutorial and your pictures look great as well. I already know the pastry you make is the very best. The tarts look scrumptious!

Love Ya!

Anonymous said...

Your tarts look so good I must confess I buy the frozen tart shells.

jackie said...

I love the paper baking cup idea!

Darcy said...

Hi Kansas,

Great tutorial for the tart shells! I am curious what you think about the FoodSaver. I've been contemplating whether to get one.


Anonymous said...

Ever heard of cherry berry on a cloud? Its better than sex in a pan. You use cherry pie filling but I bet it would be good with your blueberry pie filling.
It is on my dessert page. AuntieB

Wendy said...

Your tarts look so good!I may have to do some up myself soon. I agree with Jackie, the paper baking cups is a great idea. Don't know why that never came to mind? hmmmmm? I've never made cherry tarts just strawberry. Think I'll have to try cherry next time I can get my hands on some pie cherries.

Jennifer said...

Yummy! Love the tip on using the muffin papers for the shells ... looks much easier than the old-fashioned way. And the whole recipe looks easy enough that even I could do it ... thanks!

~Camille said...

I am a new reader here, and I think you're my new favorite read! I am new to farming (1 year) and therefore new to all things homemade too, but I am loving it. I love these tarts. I'll have to try and make them. You make things look so easy. I've mastered my pie crust recipe, but I have yet to master the roll out of it. It looks so ugly when I roll it out and put it in the pan. But, I'll keep trying and maybe in a few years, it'll be easy for me.