Tag Archives: Baking

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

I have been using this recipe since before I can remember. It originally came from one of my mom’s old English cook books but I have gotten to the point now that I have it memorized. It’s pretty simple for a pastry and tastes delicious and buttery. I works best with tarts and pies, but if I’m feeling really lazy I just make little twists and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them and bake.  All you need is…

16 oz All Purpose Flour

Pinch of Salt

2 egg yolks

4 oz Butter (Room temperature)

4 oz Shortening (Lard works too)

4-6 Tablespoons of Water

This recipe will make about four dozen tarts or two pie crusts. It is really easy to half and can be frozen.

In a large bowl, sift the flour and the salt together. Then, cut the butter and the shortening into the flour mixture. Use your hands to mix the fat and flour mixture together until you get something resembling a bread crumb consistency.

Shortcrust pastry step one

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and four tablespoons of water together. Then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and use your hand to knead the dough until it is combined. Make sure that you don’t over work the dough because that can make the pastry very hard when it is baked. When you are done, if should look something like this.

shortcrust balls

inside of short crust pastry

The pastry should be refrigerated at least 30 minutes before it is rolled out. I usually bake it at around 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit until it is golden brown. Good luck!

Hint: This stuff tastes really good raw, just don’t eat too much of it!

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Not so Simple

Today, as I was drinking coffee in my kitchen, talking to my mom and our friend Yolanda, she said something that really made me think. She said that even if all you are eating is a piece of bread and a coffee, it can be the most delicious thing in the world if you are with the right company.

After thinking about it, I find that I have to agree with her. Food just tastes better when you are with other people who are enjoying it with you. I love to bake and cook, but I often don’t feel like my job is done until I have shared my cooking accomplishment with another person. It’s almost like it didn’t happen if no one else was around to eat it. I get a small thrill when I see a friend bite into a cookie that I spent my time on. I am excited when I see a slow smile spread across their face or hear a delighted, “This is so good.”

Food has a way of connecting people that is like no other. Growing up, the kitchen was the place that we would all gather, each of us doing our part to make a great meal. In a world where work and projects are never ending, a good meal is something you can start and finish all in one day, and receive immediate benefits.

Food should never be used as something to simply fill an empty belly, it should be an experience. Each meal should be enjoyed and talked about. Now I know that we don’t always have time to make an elaborate meal, but even simple foods can complex. Like Yolanda said, even a simple piece of bread has the potential to be the best thing you have ever tasted.

Time Saving Discovery

I recently made a food discovery of monumental proportions, the food processor. I received a food processor for Christmas this year and I have proceeded to use it in all of my subsequent cooking endeavors. And I mean all of them.

Bread? Yep.

Truffles? You bet.

Cookies? No brainer.

Croissants? Don’t be crazy, that would ruin puff pastry!

But in all seriousness, a food processor is a great way to cut down on time and mess. That is a big deal for someone like me, as making messes is like second nature. Usually when I bake, I get so into it that when I finally look up there is flour everywhere! It even somehow finds a way to make my black lab look like he’s going gray! (That is a frightening thought!)

A food processor keeps me from having a kitchen tornado. That is, of course, as long as I remember to put the lid on…

Just the other day, it only took me five minutes to make the filling for some Oreo    Truffles. Which are absolutely delicious by the way, but also absolutely fattening. But what are you going to do? All the best things are.

Anyway, next time you are short on time and want to still make something amazing, try using a food processor to speed up a few steps.

Tip: A food processor is a great way to mix hard butter and flour together when making a pastry.