Saturday, 19 June 2010

Perfect Pastry

Pastry is hard enough to make at the best of times without throwing in the added factor of trying to make it gluten free as well. Gluten unfortunately is the binding agent in foods which keeps all the ingredients together and keeps the food springy and moist.
But fear not! I have suffered the trials and tribulations of perfecting gluten free pastry so you don't have to!
This recipe covers most of your pastry wants and can be used for quiches,flans and any number of sweet desserts such as lemon meringue pie and treacle tart.
For a while I struggled along using the butter/flour/water recipe that I used to use for normal cooking, until one day I came across a recipe by James Martin on the BBC recipe search which used an egg and I haven't looked back since, the pastry is lighter, tastier and thus far I haven't broken any teeth trying to eat it!
below is my easy peasy recipe for pastry and how to use it to make a yum-in-your-tum treacle tart. Enjoy!

  • 225g (8oz) plain flour (Doves Farm is the best)
  • 110g (4oz) cold butter, cubed
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
  • Mix the egg into the mixture with a knife. The mixture may still be a little dry, at this stage you can add a few tablespoons of water, but remember you don't want the mixture too wet, just moist enough so that when it is rolled it wont break apart. Pull the mixture together into a ball,cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 30minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 5. Next grease a flan/tart case with butter,spread or oil, pick your poison. Roll or flatten the pastry out with your hands onto a floured surface. Gently pick the pastry up and use to line your flan/tart case. Don't worry if it cracks or comes apart in your hands, you can patchwork the dough together in the case and smooth any cracks, once the filling is in no-one will see them anyway. Prick the base with a fork.
  • Line the pastry with some baking parchment and weigh down with rice or dried lentils/beans. Bake blind for 10-15minutes. Remove the parchment and rice and pop back in the oven for a few more minutes. the pastry will not go super golden like normal pastry but there should be some colour change.
For the treacle filling
  • 450g (1lb) golden syrup
  • 85g/3oz gluten free bread
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • Once your perfect pastry is done its ready for any filling you want to put in it. Whizz the bread up in a blender, if you don't have a blender tear the bread up and crumble it as small as you can with your hands.
  • Next mix all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl and then spoon over into the pastry case. return to the oven for 30minutes. Serve cold or hot with your choice of cream or ice cream.

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