In between crazy writing sprints this last week (I’m doing NaNo) it seems like I’ve been doing marathons of pie making. Now I bake…like I mean I bake like other people wash their hands. I don’t have to think about it, rarely use recipes and cookbooks tend to be for inspiration and for my kids to order up their choices. So when Edie suggested we do recipes this month I though….well…pies!
Except I want to focus on pastry as so many people I know just buy pastry (shudder) see that’s like drinking instant coffee!!! (double shudder) or using a cake mix (no point in shuddering – my kids would shoot me if I tried such a thing!!!)
Pastry is dead easy. So forget all those warnings about treating it gently, don’t overwork it etc. I’ve done everything wrong many times and it’s still unbelievably good. But I also have 3 main pastry recipes that always work – just for different things. So let’s take a quick look:
Anytime, any use, always good stuff pastry (my standard)
- 5.5 cups of flour
- 1 lb lard
- titch of salt if you care if not don’t bother
- 1 tsp baking powder (extra help for if you over mix etc)
- I TBSP vinegar
- 1 egg
- water – just over a cup
Measure dry ingredients into bowl. Dump in all the lard and cut up into small pieces (size of corn kernel) use knives, pastry cutter – whatever. In a cup, mix egg, vinegar and water. Pour around the bowl trying to spread around the bowl. Mix gently. At this point I get my hands into it. I knead the mixture a couple of times, form into balls and put on the table to roll. I roll the dough out, flip into pan, trim edges then add leftover pastry to the next ball.
This is my usual amount but you an cut in half or quarter the recipe – and sometimes I triple it! 🙂
Hot water pastry – ideal for all savory recipes and will work with sweet ones too.
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup lard/shortening/margarine/bear fat (lol and yes I have used the last one, eh!)
- 2 cups flour
Place lard in a bowl. Pour in boiling water and whip mixture until creamy and the lard is melted.
Mix together salt and flour in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture. Stir until pastry stops sticking to sides of bowl. Refrigerate pastry before rolling out if it’s hard to work with. I usually roll right away as I always am short on time.
SUPER flaky (and rich) pastry!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 Tbsp of sugar (for sweet recipes, otherwise skip)
- 3 sticks room temperature butter (1 1/2 cups) cut into chunks and
- 3/4 cup sour cream – please use full fat (and I’ve used yogurt when I had no sour cream)
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar (if using any). Add the cubes of soft butter. Mix until coarse meal texture. Add the sour cream. Use a fork to mix. Get your hands and mix into two balls. Flatten balls by hand and dust with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for min. 30. Can keep for a day this way or can be frozen. If you forget about it for several hours, let it sit until it warms up enough to be able to roll it out.
This dough is great for any sweet pastry and will also work for a pot pit.
Now what goes in those pie crusts is as varied as your imagination. Considering I’m a writer, I’m sure you can see that basically anything goes! The batch I just finished included apple, strawberry rhubarb, cherry strawberry, pumpkin and blueberry with crumble top. When ever there is a little pastry left over, it’s rolled into turnovers that could hold walnuts and cream cheese, jam, sausages, onions and cheese – or anything else that didn’t run away fast enough before I snagged it up and dropped it in!
Yes, I’m planning on doing cookbooks. I actually have a cheesecake one started and a family favorites almost finished. My kids want actual printed cookbooks for when they move out. We’ll see!
What are you favorite pastry/pie recipes?