“Pastry can be tricky to perfect – it only needs a few ingredients, so mastery of it is all in the technique”, says deputy food editor Adam Bush. “This recipe will give you a crisp, buttery pastry case that is ready to be filled with whatever you fancy, in this case all of my favourite things: potatoes, wine, lardons, pickles and cheese!”
How to get perfect pastry every time
1. Keep it cool
Put the mixing or food processor bowl and butter into the freezer before you start so everything is really cold when it comes to make the pastry. This will help stop the butter from leaching out of the pastry during baking.
2. Pulse away
Use the pulse function on the food processor so the butter is evenly distributed throughout the flour. The mixture should resemble breadcrumbs – this will make the pastry more buttery and flaky once cooked.
3. Don’t overwork
Handle the pastry as little as possible to avoid strengthening and bonding the gluten molecules – otherwise you’ll get tough, overworked pastry.
Chill the pastry case once it has been rolled out to let the gluten molecules relax. This will stop the pastry case from shrinking in the tin when it’s baked.
5. Blind baking
Blind baking with baking beans will distribute the heat of the oven evenly, ensuring the pastry is cooked gently and thoroughly. They also keep the pastry shell flat and even. If you don’t have ceramic baking beans, dried rice or pulses work just as well.
6. Egg washing
Brushing the pastry base with beaten egg after the initial blind bake and then re-baking forms a seal on the pastry shell, which prevents a soggy bottom once the filling goes in.
7. Cover it
If you spot the edges of the pastry colouring too much during the blind bake, cover with foil while the base gets golden.
- smoked bacon lardons 100g
- onions 2, halved and thinly sliced
- white wine a splash
- double cream 100ml
- new potatoes 300g, cooked, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
- reblochon 250g, sliced
- silverskin pickled onions 50g, halved
- cornichons 50g, chopped
- unsalted butter 125g, chilled and cubed
- plain flour 250g
- sea salt a pinch
- egg yolks 2
- Kcals 635
- Fat 42.8g
- Saturates 25.4g
- Carbs 43g
- Sugars 4.4g
- Fibre 3.6g
- Protein 17.1g
- Salt 1.2g