JUST IN TIME for the holiday season: a step by step tutorial to create the perfect pastry! Get creative with this versatile pastry – use it to make something sweet OR savory!
Pastry with Chef Doughty
4 cups All Purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups or 12 ounces chilled shortening
3/4 cup ice water (more or less)
In a bowl, combine flour and salt and stir with fingers. Add shortening and work into flour with your fingers until mixture is somewhat clumpy. There should be larger pieces of unmixed fat. The mixture should not be worked too fine. Larger particles are the basis for a flakier crust.
Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and, at the same time, rake and overturn the flour particles with your fingers to give everything a chance to moisten and come together. You do not want to knead this dough. Kneading will destroy those larger particles of fat.
As soon as the flour particles start coming together, stop mixing and gently press the dough into a ball. Set it on a floured counter and gently shape it into a disc about four inches wide and one inch thick. Wrap the disc in plastic and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
During this resting period, the flour, shortening, and water will meld together and create a more blended dough ball. After 15 minutes, remove from the fridge and sprinkle each side of the disc with a little flour.
Tear off two pieces of wax or parchment paper and center the pastry disc between the two sheets. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to a circle that reaches the edges of the wax paper. If the circle is not perfect, don’t worry, because it can be cut and patched over the pie plate. Remove one piece of paper and then pick up the remaining sheet and invert the pastry over the pie plate, centering it over the plate as best you can.
Remove the second sheet of paper and press the pastry into all edges and make sure the bottom and the sides of the plate are covered with dough. If the pastry does not cover the entire plate, cut off pieces where there is excess and join them to the parts that are lacking.
The edges can be finished in any way. If there is just little pastry hanging over the edges, bring it to the top of the rim and mound it around the edge. if there is a lot of pastry hanging beyond the rim, take a knife and cut it off.
Once you have completed either of these steps, use your fingers to press of flute a decorative edge all the way around. Everyone does this differently; there is no right or wrong way to flute. Get some ideas on-line. Press and work the edge in a manner that feels comfortable to you and each time work at making it consistent and even. You will be amazed at how unique and creative your fingerwork will become. It will add to the beauty of the dish.