Dear Debbie I feel your pastry pain!

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Have you thought about making the perfect pie or tart only to be put off by the laborious task of making pastry. The rubbing-in of butter and flour, letting the dough rest, rolling the dough, refrigerating the pastry shell, blind baking, removing the baking beads, baking some more blah, blah, blah….I HAVE DISCOVERED THE EASIEST SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY IN THE WORLD and it requires none of the above and you will produce a perfect pie crust every time!

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I have stopped buying magazines. Well almost. Cooks Illustrated is the most exquisite foodie magazine in the world. My daughter gives me a subscription every birthday. I look over the beautiful illustrations, read the detailed recipes, always with a deeper understanding of the science of cooking and vow to get around to cooking up their recipes one day.

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It was a Saturday and friends were coming over to dinner. The rather mummified granny smiths in the fruit bowl were needing to be used so an apple pie was the obvious answer. I knew I needed to start the tedious pastry process early or the pie wouldn’t be ready in time. Groan! Until I remembered the pastry recipe I’d read about in the magazine a week ago. Andrea Geary, the cook, the inventor and author of the pastry article you are my hero. This pastry worked spectacularly and it was easy as pie! (sorry?! but I had to go there)

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My only problem was the slight adjustment of measurements and for all you non American cooks a tablespoon of butter = 14 grams and I’ve used salted butter rather than adding extra salt as original recipe required. I have converted the recipe to make it easier for us Australians but if you need to reference the original I’ve shown it above.

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SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY

1+1/3 cups of plain flour

1/4 cup castor sugar

140 grams of salted butter (melted)

Turn oven to 180c (350f) before you start pastry.

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Mix flour and sugar in bowl.

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Pour over melted butter.

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Mix till all ingredients are combined.

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And a crumbly dough is formed.

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You will need a 23 cm (9 inch) non stick, removable base, tart pan. As the pastry is high in butter and all the flour is coated in fat you will NOT need to use any cooking spray or baking paper to line pan. It just does not stick!

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Tip 2/3 of the crumbly dough into pan.

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Work from the centre, pushing and flattening dough firmly to base of pan till a smooth flat pastry is formed (in the same way you would a cookie crumb crust for a cheesecake). Unlike traditional pastry this dough benefits from warm hands, making it easier to spread the rather crumbly dough over the pan.

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Tip remaining dough around edge and repeat process up fluted sides of pan. Remember to press firmly into flutes, checking that pastry is even and no thin bits are formed. Smooth off top with fingers so that edge of pastry is level with top of pan.

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And that is the most beautiful bit of pastry dough ready to go straight into the 180 c (350 f) oven!

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Place tart pan on baking tray. If you put tart pan directly onto wire rack in oven you run the risk of knocking this fragile pastry and inadvertently splitting or tearing it. This way you only have to handle the baking tray and not accidentally disturb pastry.

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Place tray in bottom third of oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remember to check that pastry is cooking evenly and turn if hot spots are developing. You may need to turn oven down towards the end if crust is getting too brown.

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During baking I noticed trapped air between pastry and pan was causing dough to balloon out slightly. This was easily fixed by pricking with a fork. Be careful not to create large holes in pastry if you will be using a runny filling. For the apple pie it made no difference.

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And there it is, crispy and golden and ready for you to add whatever delectable tart filling you’d like. (I’ll give you the apple filling recipe and other pastry porn at a later date).

P.S. The Debbie in the title is my dear friend and blogger from Virginia, Debbie Spivey from The Mountain Kitchen. You can read her hilarious account of what happened to her Mushroom Quiche here.

Anna Buckley Books

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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion,  travel, and … men.
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28 responses to “Dear Debbie I feel your pastry pain!”

  1. Cooks Illustrated is my kitchen bible! Your pastry came out just beautiful! Everything that I have tried from their instructions has turned out so well.

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    1. Yeah Julie, mine too. Love the philosophy behind your blog. So much of our best memories are centered around the food we share. I started keeping journals of all I cooked so that someday my kids, or grandchildren might have a read. So much of this history gets lost and we’re only left with birth dates and heroic tales. I would much rather find out about the kitchens of Pompeii, than who was mayor!

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      1. What a great idea Anna! I was just saying to my sister that I wish we knew what happened to my grandmothers recipe box. No one knows. 😦

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  2. Pinned! Thanks for the share!

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    1. Hi Jeanne, thanks. Absolutely loved your post about rescuing waste. In Australia 2 supermarkets dominate the grocery sector and they demand perfection from their suppliers. I’ve talked to growers who send most of the perfectly good, but rejected fruit to pig farmers and when that is too much it’s tipped into landfill!

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      1. Thanks for the kind words, Anna, Isn’t it crazy how much waste is out there…there’s got to be a better way. I wonder if a produce rescue could find it’s way to Australia? It’s such a great idea, & benefits so many…

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to try your easy as pie pastry. I suffer from the tedious pastry process myself. Good timing with your post with Thanksgiving coming up. 🙂

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    1. Pumpkin pie I believe is the tradition in the states? It’s not something we bake in Australia. My sister lives in Virginia and I often wonder if she’s game to tackle some of your holiday Recipes?

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      1. Yes, pumpkin pie is the Thanksgiving tradition over here. But I always make apple pie too. 🙂

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  4. I think that looks perfect for Debbie and for me to try too! When I saw what she did for that mushroom quiche, I decided that as delicious as it looked, I was not interested in trying it out. This looks great to do instead for the crust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would be curious to see if this works as a savory pastry. Perhaps the sugar could be replaced by Parmesan cheese. What do you think?

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      1. I think it’s worth a try. It would be palatable the first time and then you could tweak it more. I’d try some Parmesan cheese like you suggest, some dry herbs (thyme or Italian seasonings, maybe 1/2 tsp), even a little garlic or garlic salt. I don’t think it would need sugar, but if it does, it would be minimal like 1/2 tbsp.

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        1. Good suggestion. Would love to replace all shortcrust recipes with this method, savory or sweet.

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  5. Reblogged this on The Mountain Kitchen and commented:
    If you remember the incident I had with the pastry for my mushroom quiche, then you’ll be interested to know that there is hope. Find out about Anna Buckley’s pastry discovery!

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    1. Sorry for being slow to reply but here in Australia, at the bottom of the world, we sleep when you play. It’s always great to wake up and see what you’ve been up to while we’ve been curled up in our beds.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. ‘Hump Day’? Now initially I thought this comment was spam, or a joke or some kind of trolling tease,I’m very new to this whole blogging thingy. And then I saw it was from you gorgeous Debbie and wondered whether this was really a Virginian State Holiday? It would be impolite to dismiss it, what with me being from Australia and not being familiar with the cultural norms of that state. So you may all be laughing that I got sucked in but I have this delightful image of you guys all taking time out, with your loved one, doing that thing that keeps relationships alive…..Christina Maxwell would most definitely approve! Cheers x

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lol!!!! It is an American term used for describing Wednesday the middle of the week and getting over the hump and on down to the weekend… You should Google it!! 🙂

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            1. A big laugh from down-under! Humping, in Australia, is slang for having sex. Damn! You can imagine the picture I had of what you Virginians were getting up to today!

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              1. LMAO! The slogan for tourism is “Virginia is for lovers”!!!!

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  6. “Easy as pie” she said…. This is an awesome looking pastry crust looks amazing! I’m still licking my wounds from the battle I had with my quiche, but I can imagine all kinds of good things to put inside this crust… Thanks for the share! 🙂

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    1. I couldn’t believe we were both attempting pastry on the same day. I had an identical disaster many many years ago when I was a poor student. Forgot to put tart pan on baking tray, bumped the fragile pastry and spilled the contents of quiche all through oven! I was so damaged by the incident I didn’t attempt pastry until I was much older and could afford to lose the ingredients!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh wow it looks so delicious!

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    1. Thanks Arielle, will add fillings in future posts. Thought it best to concentrate solely on pastry for today.PS love the mix of stories on your blog.

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      1. Thank you! My blog is more of a lifestyle blog, that’s why there are so many different posts but I try to categorize them 🙂 Can’t wait to read more from you!

        Liked by 1 person

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