from one generation to the next
In my working life as a cook for a catering company I was often dubbed the Queen of Tartlets. I was proud of my pastry making ability and could effortlessly whip up hundreds of pastry cases using a classic butter rich pâte brisée recipe which never failed. Since I’ve been forced to eliminate wheat from my diet that tried and true classic pastry recipe has been relegated to the archives and I’ve been on a quest to find a contemporary replacement. It’s been a reluctant search. I love modern food but I firmly believe there are recipes that are classics for a reason and shouldn’t really be messed about with. Sorry beloved pâte brisée.
I need a pastry recipe that has no wheat, or just a small amount, a pastry that can be rolled thinly, that handles without cracking and cooks to a beautiful crisp shell and cuts without crumbling. It goes without saying that the pastry must also have a deliciously buttery flavour and pleasant mouthfeel.
I’d lost count of the number of recipes tested and rejected before this beauty caught my eye. It’s from the marvellously adaptive Claire Aldous at foodie magazine, “Dish,” from New Zealand, issue number 66.
The recipe makes sufficient to line two 20cm deep fluted tart tins and six shallow 10cm tartlet dishes. It made an elastic dough that was easy to handle, didn’t crumble or break as I lined the tins nor did it shrink when baked blind.
I chose a classic Asparagus, Gruyere and Ham Quiche for the trial run and stored the extra dishes, ready lined in the freezer, then I made a lemon tart. A week later I made savoury tartlets for lunch with the spinach, feta and roasted tomato filling from the archives. The pastry lined tin went straight from the freezer to the oven and performed as if it was freshly made.
The very best part of this pastry recipe is that it tastes great too. Mission accomplished.
Spelt sour cream shortcrust
1 cup white spelt flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
150g chilled unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Put the flours, nut meal and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine.
Add the chilled butter and process until the flour resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the cream and the chia seeds and pulse only until the dough forms a ball. Pastry is best handled as little as possible.
Tip the dough onto the bench and form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic until chill for 1 hour.
Grease the insides of 2 x 20cm deep fluted tart tins.
Dust the bench with a little spelt flour, then divide the dough in half. Roll the dough into a 30cm circles then line the tart tins.
Prick the base with a fork, then put the tin into the freeze for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cut a piece of baking paper to fit inside the tart then fill with beans or rice to weigh down the pastry.
Bake for 15 mins, the reduce the oven temperature to 150C, lift out the weights on the baking paper and bake the pastry for a further 10 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the oven and set aside to cool.