Friday, December 9, 2016

Tips and Tricks from School - Short Crust Pastry

I made egg tarts and fruit tarts before (but not too often) but didn't know what dough method I used previously for those bakes.  I realized I knew so little about pastry after I attended this week's lessons. Now then I know pie and tart are classified under short-crust pasty.

Here are some of the pointers I learned from the class:

Short-crust pastry is a non-laminated pastry, often used for the base or casing of a tart, quiche or pie.  It has a short and tender crumb.  Because of no leavening agent, it doesn't puff up during baking.

The basic ingredients used in short-crust are flour, fat, sugar, salt, water and egg. We should use as little liquid as possible in short crust recipe  to achieve a more tender crumb.   Lard provides the best tenderness among butter, oil and other fats. 

Different dough methods for pie and tart we learned in this module are:

(1) Pie -  sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling.

  • Flaky pie dough -  best for pie top-crusts and lattice, used for non-liquid and cooked filling.

  •  Mealy pie dough - sturdier than flaky dough, used for bottom crust of custard and fruit pies which resist sogginess.

(2) Tart -  sweet or savory dish with shallow sides and only a bottom crust 

  • Sweet tart dough (Pate Sucree)- used for sweet tart shells, rich but not flaky, contains egg yolk and the fat is blended thoroughly. The high sugar content helps to make the dough more tender. Cookie-like crumb that will hold liquid filling without leaking, i.e. used for desserts such as fruit tart, chocolate tart, etc.
  • Savoury (sandy) tart dough (Pate Sablee) - short bread tart dough, high percentage of fat, crumbly richer crust, may include small amount of egg yolk, more fragile than sweet tart dough.  It's a richer and a more superior crust.  Because it's a more delicate crust, the tart shell will become soggy much faster than sweet pastry tart shell.

In this module, we learned how to make 6 types of pies/ tarts, i.e.  lemon meringue pie, triple berry pie, fruit tartlets, apple crumble tart, Asian chicken pie and quiche, with all the 4 different doughs.   

From my view, making pie and tart are more tedious as compare to cake and bread as beside baking, most of them require cooking.  

Out of 6 bakes we made, the only recipe that I think worth sharing is quiche as the rest of them weren't nice.  It could be due to lousy recipes  or not using good quality ingredients. We were somehow prepared for the outcome of the products. Just to remember what our Chef always said we should focus on learning the technique and not to blame on recipe.

Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Mealy dough
  • 220g plain flour
  • 110 butter
  • 3g salt
  • 7g sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 10ml water
  • 75g ham (shredded)
  • 1/2 piece Onion (shredded)
  • 50g Gruyere cheese (shaving)
  • 15g butter
  • 150g milk
  • 150g whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt, pepper, paprika
Preparation:   Preheat oven at 180*C

Short Crust:
  1. Rub butter into flour, add in salt and sugar. And then rub till crumb form.
  2. Add the egg in, mix well and then add in water until mixture holds together to form a dough.
  3. Cover with a cling film and keep in chiller for an hour.
  4.  Remove the dough from fridge, roll the dough out between two parchment paper to 3mm thick sheet, cut the dough out to (abt) 1cm bigger than pie pan size.  
  5.  Line dough into the mould, trim the edge, prick holes with fork. 
  6. Chill the pie dough  for 15-30 mins.
  7. Remove pie dough from chiller, press surface to cover poked holes (no need baking bean if poke holes).  Blind bake for 15-20 mins.  Set aside to cool.
Filling:  Saute  onion with butter till soften, add in ham and continuous to fry till liquid is dried out. Leave it aside to cool. 

Sauce:    Mix egg, milk and whipping cream together.  Season with salt, pepper and paprika.  Strain the  sauce.

  1. Once the crust is cool down, put a portion of filling into crust and pour in the sauce (80% full).   
  2. Put the baking pan with the tart tin in the oven and bake at 180*C for 25-30 mins or until the center is just set, still a little wiggly.

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