When it comes to baking, a lot of things can go wrong and pastry is no different. Here are some tips for the perfect pastry.
1. Just like ourselves, we need a rest after work and so does pastry. Allow your pastry to rest for at least an hour before rolling it out or it is best to leave over night.
2. Puff pastry needs to rest for at least an hour after each turn, this allows the butter to chill, if the butter melts it will ruin the lamination.
3. Unlike bread, you don’t want to work your pastry dough. There is gluten in the flour which is what gives structure but if the pastry is over worked the pastry will have a tough, undesirable mouth feel.
4. When it comes to pastry, your ingredients must be chilled. When baking the butter melts and works its magic, you don’t want it melting too early so stay cool!
5. Always keep your work surface dusted with flour to stop the pastry from sticking.
6. When rolling, keep turning your pastry on the floured surface to ensure an even roll.
7. Blind baking is a technique that is used for shortcrust pastry. After lining your baking tin, place a piece of parchment paper on top and fill with baking beans (ceramic beads) or rice. This is to weigh down the pastry and allow it to bake before the filling is added. When using a wet filling such as a curd, custard or an egg mix, blind baking will stop the pastry from having the infamous ‘soggy bottom’.
8. When making choux pastry in the pot it is important to cook out the flour fully, about three minutes on a medium heat should cook it off.