Introduction: Pastry Tutorial & Tips
Here's a tutorial I created back in 2007 on making pastry and a few tips too. This is a simple way to make flaky tarts using baking cups for quick easy clean-up and perfectly shaped tarts.
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Step 1: Ingredients
5 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb lard
1 tablespoon vinegar
Step 2: Flour, Salt & Lard
Combine flour and salt. Cut lard into pieces and add to the flour. My lard was a bit warm and I should have stuck it into the fridge but I didn't. Use a pastry blender or two knives to blend everything together so it resembles course oatmeal.
Step 3: Egg & Vinegar
Take a "one cup" measuring cup and add one egg and a tablespoon of vinegar. Mix the two together.
Step 4: Important:
Add enough cold water to fill it to the one cup line.
Step 5: Dough
Add enough of the egg/vinegar/water mixture to the flour to form into a dough... a bit at a time, and it's okay if you don't use the whole cup.
Step 6: Kneading
Dump the whole works onto a floured pastry sheet or your floured counter. Knead into a ball. If your dough is really sticky, add a bit more flour or stick in the fridge to cool it down. Depending on what you are doing, cut into separate pieces. I cut into four because I was making tarts and freezing the rest.
Step 7: Rolling
Put three of them back into the bowl and stick in the fridge. Take the fourth one and roll out to desired thickness. I continuously flipped my dough and keep adding flour to the pastry sheet and the rolling pin. It holds together really well so keep flipping, turning, and rolling.
Step 8: Baking Cups Make Easy Clean-up
When I have it all rolled out I use a biscuit cutter and baking cups to make my tart shells. Medium or large cups are a great size. Flatten the baking cup and place your pastry in the centre. Place into muffin tins. I don't like large tarts and these are the perfect size for a snack.
Step 9: Freeze, Then Add Filling
Before adding any filling I stick the shells into the freezer for at least ten minutes, this helps prevent a soggy crust.
While they are freezing I put away the rest of my pastry for another day. I flatten it down and vacuum seal it. If you don't have a vacuum sealer a freezer bag will do fine. The reason I flatten them is better storage and much faster thawing when I need it. You can also freeze the shells themselves but my freezer has a tendency to get things thrown about and broken pieces of tart shells don't hold much :)
Depending on how much I have or what I intend to do I label them different ways.
Step 10: Cooking
After I put away the extra pastry it's time to fill the tarts! Today it's cherry :) If my youngest daughter wasn't home I would have taken the very little bit of pastry left over from the tarts and made stars or circles to place on top... but she is a pastry nut and loves to eat it raw (ewwww). So with her home you'll have to imagine that they look quite pretty and it's a great way to use up all your pastry :)
I then cook them at a high heat for about 5 minutes (425 degrees), turn the oven down (400 degrees) and cook for another 20 minutes or so. When they are done I take them out and immediately remove them with a knife. The reason; just in case the filling has boiled over, because once they cool down they are impossible to remove. Discard the baking cups and enjoy!