Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Short Crust Pastry

In my gluten free travels I have struggled to find a decent pastry.  There are numerous 'pie crusts' using almond meal, crushed GF biscuits/crackers etc but I was wanting a REAL pastry.  I got excited when I discovered my supermarket was stocking the pre-rolled GF pastry sheets, only to be disappointed with the cardboard texture and lack of taste.  

I decided it MUST be possible to create a pastry that could be rolled not just pushed into a pan.  To give credit where its due I was inspired by a recipe at www.exclusivelyfood.com.au.  I played around with some ideas and here is the result, the most deliciously buttery shortcrust pastry that also happens to be Gluten Free!

I used my precision electronic scales and to be honest I think exact measurements help a lot with this recipe.  I used generic GF Flour blends in this recipe.  Specifically I used the "Has No..." range from Aldi for this recipe.  It would also work well with the Orgran brand of flours.  I have personally had little luck with the White Wings GF  flour blends.  I have have had little to no success with this brand in my recipes - must be the ratios used.  

Remember that the key rules that apply to pastry making all apply here.  Ingredients cold straight from fridge.  Handle the mix as little as possible.  Ideally use a food processor to make.

162g  Plain GF Flour
38g GF Self Raising Flour
60g Pure Icing Sugar
1 level tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp GF Baking Powder
100g Cold Butter roughly chopped
1 large egg yolk (use an egg with a minimum whole weight of 59g)
A little of the egg white to aid binding

1. Place Plain Flour, Self Raising Flour, Icing Sugar, Xanthan Gum and Baking Powder (all your dry ingredients) in your food processor and process on medium speed for about 10 seconds to combine ingredients.

2. Add the cold chopped butter to the dry ingredients and process for another 20-30 seconds until only very tiny lumps of butter remain.  You may need to stop and give it a scrape around then pulse a few times to get it all.  Butter pieces should be small like grains of rice.

3. Add your egg yolk and process on medium speed until the yolk is incorporated and the mixture starts to clump together to form a dough. (About 30-60 seconds) Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  If after this time it is not coming together, add about a tsp of the egg white and pulse for a further 15 seconds.  Continue with a little eggwhite at a time until you get the desired pull together of the mix.  It should not be wet but just be holding together.

4. Tip the dough onto a large sheet of baking paper and use your hands to bring the pastry together.  Do not knead it - just handle it enough to bring it together then flatten into a round disc.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 40-60 minutes before rolling out.

5.  Unlike most GF Pastries - this dough actually WILL roll out .  You will have most success if you roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper.  I added no extra flour to dust.  This will only dry the mixture more and make it more crumbly.

6.  As you roll it out to fill a pie dish, don't roll to thin as it IS fragile.  I had best success in individual pie dishes with loose bottoms.  These cases also benefit from a little 'blind' baking before placing your filling in.  I baked mine at about 160 C for about 5-10 minutes before adding my filling.

This bakes a beautifully buttery pastry shell best eaten on day you make it.  But good the following day too.  This is not just a great GF pastry shell its a great pastry shell full stop!  People not following a GF diet will love it too - Promise.

Fill with whatever takes your fancy.  Lemon Meringue, Apple, Frangipane the possibilities are endless  - Enjoy !

I will use this pastry in some recipes to follow but wanted first up to give you the basic pastry on its own for reference.  Now lets create some baking magic and see what we can do with it.....

L x

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