Sunday, 28 June 2009

pastry case - baking blind

Last night was the first time I had ever done this. I have done flaky pastry and wee tartlets before - but not something that required 'baking blind' which my tangy lemon tart required. It kind of scared me a bit because pastry can be tricky and also there is nothing worse than a soggy bottom to your pastry pudding. But, I did it and it worked out really well!

I used Jamie Oliver's sweet shortcrust pastry recipe. I found that I only needed half the recipe for my tangy lemon tart although I would imagine if you were doing a recipe with a top over the filling you would need the whole batch.

500g plain flour
100g icing sugar
250g butter
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, beaten
splash of milk

by hand
seive the flour into a bowl, seive over the sugar then cut the butter into cubes and rub into the sugar and flour with your fingers
You should end up with a fine, crumbly mixture
At this point you can add any flavourings you would like to the pastry
Add in the milk and eggs and gently work it together until you have a ball of dough

using food processor
seive the flour and sugar into the processor and give it a quick whizz
cut the butter into small chunks and add to the food processor and blitz until you have a fine, crumbly mix
remove from the processor into a bowl and add the milk and egg and gently work it together until you have a ball of dough

flour the dough lightly, cover in cling film and pop in the fridge for half an hour

You should have nice cold hands for making the dough so you don't start to melt the butter. I am lucky because my hands are always freezing! But if you are more warm blooded - or the kitchen has been very warm with all the cooking you have been doing - run them under the cold tap for a minute or two and that will help.
I left out the lemon zest as the filling was lemon and didn't want overkill - and you can add whatever flavourings you like at the end of the dry stage.
I also only had 200g of butter - so cheated and popped in 50g of stork. It turned out fine though.

To bake blind
I needed to make a case for my tart so needed to bake blind. This is the method I used.

grease your tin with butter (if you have non-stick you may feel happy enough to not need to do this. Even with non-stick though if I am doing something delicate I like to grease!)
roll out your rested pastry to the desired size for your tin
place the pastry over the tin and then press in to fit
trim any overhanging edges

then cut a piece of greaseproof/baking paper to fit the pastry case and place inside your case
then fill the case with either uncooked rice or, if you have them, ceramic baking beans
pop the case into a hottish oven (180C, 350F, gas 4)
bake for ten minutes

after ten minutes, remove the paper and the rice/beans and bake the case for a further ten minutes or until golden

leave to cool and then fill it up!

If your case has sides, make sure the beans'rice reach up the sides or else they might flop over.

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