We all know that making pastry takes time including resting the pastry before baking, requires gentle handling and making sure that the whole process be kept as cold as possible. However here is a technique that totally goes against all the rules of making pastry, and it works to perfection. This is one recipe for all those peoples who do not seem to have the knack or patient to make a good shortcrust pastry. Hallelujah!
I came across this technique while watching Better Homes and Gardens a couple of weeks ago when Fast Ed made some fruit tartlets using this pastry on the show. It was so simple to make I just have to try it. And the result was so good I made it again a couple of days later.
However, don’t expect the dough to be like the traditional pastry dough. Since the dough is partially cooked, it feels more like an oily playdough in texture. I also find it easier to mould the dough straight into the mould(s) rather than rolling it out as it is quite soft. This does make the final products rather rustic in look, but hey, for an easy recipe like this, who cares as long as they taste good!
Makes approx. 12 muffin-size tartlets or 6 muffin-size mini-pies
135g butter *, roughly chopped
25g (1 1/2 tablespoons) sugar *
30ml (1 1/2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
80ml (4 tablespoons) water
250g (1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons) plain flour
* If using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoons salt to the flour. If making savoury pies, you may reduce the amount of sugar to 1 or 2 teaspoons.
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Place chopped butter, sugar, oil and water in a large heat-proof bowl. Put the bowl into the preheated oven for 20 minutes until butter melts, slightly brown and is bubbling.
3. Very carefully, remove the hot bowl from the oven and put onto a heat-proof surface, immediately pour in the flour all at once. Be very careful of the hot melted butter, do not burn yourself!. Use a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the flour into the hot liquid. The finished oily dough should have the consistency of soft playdough.
4. Let cool until warm or room temperature and you can easily handle it. Divide into 12 equal portions for making tartlets. If making mini pies weigh out 300g of the dough and divide into 6 portions (50g each) for the pie bases; divide the remaining dough also into 6 equal portions for the crusts.
5. If making tartlets with cold filling, mould each portion into a muffin cup. Prick the base and blind bake (no need to use weights) at 200°C oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden, crisp and set. Let cool, then top with desired filling.
6. If making tartlets or pies with hot filling, mould the dough for the bases into each muffin cup; for pies, make sure the dough comes up over the top of the muffin cup slightly so you can seal with the top crust. Fill with desire filling. For pies, flatten the dough for the crust into rounds. Place onto top of each filled pies, press edges down to seal, then eggwash if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180°C, or according to specific recipes.
Taste: Crisp, short, and tender pastry
Consume: Best within 1-2 days
Recipe Reference(s): Strawberries and Cream Tartlets by Ed Halmagyi, Better Homes and Gardens