Tag Archives: Pastry

Shepherd’s Pockets

This is essentially a puff pastry tartlet of everything you put into a shepherd’s pie, without the hassle of cooking the filling first. Make a dumpling with cut squares of cold rolled out puff pastry and well-marinated meat. Brush it with an egg wash before baking in a preheated 200ªC oven. Place it on the top rack for 10 minutes or so until the pastry has puffed up, then place down on the lowest rack for another 10-15 minutes at 180ªC.

Another one to add to the list of this and that.

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Tomato Tartlets

Puff pastry sold in supermarkets is a genius intervention. I know some people believe firmly in making everything from scratch. but puff pastry is one of those things which the homemade handmade version is no different from the ones sold ready-made in supermarkets. In fact, sometimes the former falls short of the latter. So with making your own puff pastry being so time-consuming, why not just pay a little and make your life easier?

Then again, that’s just me.

Well then, back to topic, these little babies are so easy to make, you’d be smiling from ear to ear by the time they’re on your dining table. They’re also one of them quick treats you can whip up if you’ve got guests coming round on short notice. Here’s how:

  1. If your pastry is already pre-rolled, that’s good. If not, roll it out till it’s about 5mm thick.
  2. Cut them into little rectangles and score a border around all four sides of each piece.
  3. You can brush them with an egg wash, if you want. Then, lay pieces of sliced tomatoes atop, fitting them within the scored borders.
  4. Crack a little sea salt on each and pop them into the pre-heated oven, top rack at 200ªC for about 10 minutes before lowering to 180ªC for another 10 minutes or so. Remove once the pastry is nicely browned.
  5. When fresh out of the oven, drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a small pinch of dried basil.
  6. Let them cool on a cooling rack and serve when no longer piping hot.

Happy days.


Mushroom & Cheddar Quiche

This only requires one step.

One compound step:

  1. Using this recipe for the pastry, make a thick concoction of finely sliced mushrooms, a beaten egg, grated cheddar and some milk.

Easy as pie.


Basic Quiche Pastry Recipe

Recently, I’ve been having this urge to learn to make pastry, so what better kind to start with than shortcrust pastry. Being a huge fan of the savoury, making a quiche therefore, was the desired result. The learning adventure called for a small bunch of research before embarking onward the unknown trail of crumbly crispy wonderment.

These were the proportions I used:

  • 125g sifted plain flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 55g salted butter, cubed
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
•••
  1. In a mixing bowl, put in the flour and salt, then add the cubes of butter.
  2. With your fingertips, integrate the butter into the flour-salt mixture by gently pressing the lumps in, pinching and lifting as you go along. Do this until you have a coarse sand-like mixture. Don’t take too long or everything’ll get greasy.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of the cold water first and combine the flour by pressing the mixture together. Note: You want to be pressing and not kneading. If necessary, add the third tbsp of water in small amount until the dough has combined nicely. (It should not be a sticky lump.)
  4. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before using.
  5. TIP! When ready to use, roll the dough out between two sheets of clingfilm. This makes the job easier and less messy.
  6. Line the oiled pie dish and blind-bake it till almost done before putting in the filling for more baking.

This time, I made a spinach and feta quiche. It tasted much better after it had time to set, but I was too greedy to wait.

Nom.


Spanakotiropita

Strangely enough, after coming back from Oslo, I found myself reminiscing Greece. One of the things unique to Greek cuisine is the Spanakitiropita, or more commonly known as Spanakopita, which is a spinach and feta cheese pie. There are proper better recipes out there but here’s how I did mine, as little tarts.

Stuff you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 200g of feta
  • 75g of cheddar
  • a bag of prewashed spinach leaves
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • a box of filo pastry
  • a 12-hole shallow muffin tray
Doing it:
  1. First things first, get everything ready. Preheat the oven to 200°C, boil about 2 pints of water, get a pot on the hob on low heat.
  2. Next, into the mixing bowl, crack the eggs and dump in the cheeses. Add the lemon zest and dried oregano as well. Pepper goes in as well. Stir about and stop before it’s all smooth. In this case, chunky is pretty good.
  3. When the water has boiled, empty the bag of spinach into the pot on the hob, then pour the boiling water in, just enough to wilt all the spinach leaves. Add a sprinkle of salt and toss about. The leaves should wilt in about 40 seconds or less. Once wilted, turn off the hob and drain the spinach leaves. Add them to the mixing bowl and mix everything about.
  4. Get your muffin tray ready. Then, on a board, lay out a layer of filo pastry from the box. Half it lengthways and sideways so you get four individual pieces. Drizzle olive oil and pat each of them so they are coated evenly. Sprinkle paprika over the pieces. Layer each of them atop each other. Don’t worry if they’re broken here and there. Once done, lay it in a well of your muffin tray. Repeat for all 12 holes; you should only need 12 layers of filo pastry then.
  5. Fill the wells of filo with the spinach and cheese filling, or with spanakitiro. Pardon my urge to speak Greek. Wrap the little tarts up erratically.
  6. Pop them into the bottom rack of the oven. Welcome the Aroma Fairies into your kitchen.
  7. Take those babies out when they’re golden brown and let them rest for about 10 minutes or so, while you salivate.
  8. Wait some more if you want. If not, DIG IN.