Thursday, January 27, 2011

Worth the effort

So there's this thing that I've observed here in Ireland that is different from home. Now it doesn't apply to everyone, but there has been more than one household that exhibits this trait. They don't like to use leftovers. Now as the girl who makes a pot of veg soup and has it for lunch for the bones of a week, I think this is madness and a horrible waste of food, money and the time put into its preparation.

This was evidenced last year on Christmas Day when there was ~6 lbs of cooked turkey that was destined for the garbage. Crazy, eh? I think the next day of hot turkey sandwiches or turkey soup is much nicer than the turkey dinner itself. I'm a lefty so I think I do everything backwards :) But I couldn't see all that perfectly delicious turkey go to waste. I'll describe in tomorrow's post what happened, but first I need to tell you about another recipe.

I needed pastry. And I wanted to make a nice, flaky pastry. I didn't have a go-to recipe for that so I started pouring through my books, and I came across a recipe titled Flaky Pastry in this one. It looked fairly labour intensive but I figured I'd give it a go. And man, am I glad I did! Even though I didn't blind bake it, the bottom crust was still nice and crispy and the top did that 'crack' and pieces went flying when it was cut. This recipe is getting written into my little recipe book :)

Flaky Pastry (from Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course)

350g strong white flour
pinch of salt
225g butter
125ml cold water

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Divide the butter into four equal parts. Rub one part of this into the flour and mix to a firm dough with the cold water. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Roll out into a strip and dot tiny pieces of a second portion of butter on two thirds of the pastry

Fold in three, being careful to align the edges.

Roll out. Fold in three again, cover and leave to rest in fridge for 15-20 minutes. Roll out as before, repeat process with the third quarter of butter. Fold, roll, fold, rest. Repeat with the last portion of butter, fold, roll, fold, cover and leave in fridge until ready to use.

I know it seems like a heck of a lot of butter (ok, doesn't seem to be a lot, it IS a lot) but produces a beautiful dough. Even after the first butter-fold-roll-fold it felt like a beautiful dough. It was very, very easy to work with and was a fantastic finished pastry. I think as its so buttery, you could use if for sweet dishes but adding some icing sugar along with the flour to produce a sweeter dough. Or use as is with a very sweet filling.

So easy to roll out and shape to put into ramekins!

If you don't have a flaky pastry recipe in your repertoire, I recommend trying this one. Its worth the effort. I made a double batch and froze the extra. I'll post about it in future to let you know how it froze.

I'll show you what I did with it tomorrow :)


Jenn x

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