As I promised, I have a recipe for you. No it’s not tonight’s tea, which I lovingly call “the tea Pete and I have when I’m a bit tired and cannot be bothered to be too inventive”, ie chorizo, red wine and tomato sauce over pasta (fact fans, so posh am I now that I NEVER buy anything other than De Cecco pasta now, it’s the best). That recipe is a bung every fresh herb that works in and just dish up before we eat each other in some hunger fuelled cannibalistic act.
This is not just flaky pastry. This is Holly Bell off of the Bake Off’s flaky pastry recipe. Pastry is my Bette Noir. It makes me sweat. I have no idea how to handle it, and never really had a tutor to show me as a kid. “Stop messing” was almost my other name. I responded as willingly to that as Adam during my formative years so the idea of not handling pastry as more care equals more epic failure is hard to comprehend. But tis the reality.
And here is how Holly taught me to flake up a mean pie crust.
Holly Bell’s Adam-proof pastry
75g lard (I know, who knew?!)
75 g butter, room temp
200g Plain flour
1/2 tablespoon White wine vinegar
150ml chilled water
In a bowl mash up the butter and lard. Bring this together into one mass and divide as equally as you can into four parts.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Mix one quarter of the buttery mix in with your hands to roughly resemble breadcrumbs. Its a less exact method than, say, when you make scones as it’s less butter, but the texture turns more crumb like than powdered. Add the white wine vinegar and a splash of the water. Mix with a knife with a round edge, like a dinner knife. Add the water bit by bit until it begins to form a mass. It should not be wet, but the mix should cohere. I didn’t use all the water.
On a floured surface, tip the dough out and shape into a rectangular shape. Roll it out, going only in one direction, almost to a glossy magazine shape and proportion. I used Good Housekeeping as a guide. I got flour all over Dame Judi. Using another 1/4 of the buttery mix, blob it all over in the middle of the sheet. Imagining it in thirds, fold one Third in, and the bottom third then on top of that. Stop. Don’t press, roll, anything. Just wrap in cling film and fridge it for 5 minutes.
Wash the bowl up. You have time.
Take the pastry out the fridge. Do the same again. Roll out to a magazine style proportion (pause momentarily to read the Sandi Toksvig column- oh Sandi you’re such a card!) then blob, fold and fridge. Twice more. On your last process, refrigerate it for 30 minutes. And then? Then you roll it out and have your pastry. As a lid for a cooked filling, it simply needed 35 minutes on gas mark 6to cook through. And it was a delight.
In other news, were I a lady, my winter coat of choice would be a number from Limited Collection at M and S for £120. And my choice of shoe this winter a boot. The things you contemplate whilst reading in a shoebox kitchen of an evening.
Right folk, Bake Off time. Three way division of loyalties this year. I’m team Mary-Ann (West Midlands brethren till we die) team Janet all the way and of course Team Holly (I will never quest for her perfection mind!!)
Come on the girls!
Blog later folks x
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