Smacking the Dough to Perfection: A Culinary Digression.

It’s not that I am lazy, though I haven’t ruled that out entirely. And I really don’t like rushing things (Go Slow!) but I also don’t like spending more time than is necessary especially with two young banshees running around the place. I also have an extreme aversion to most things pre-made and pre-packaged, especially when they are simple to make.

With that, I am going to share my mother’s secret pastry recipe. While her mother and siblings all started buying pre-made ‘pate a tarte’ my mother who had much more on her plate (i.e. working full-time, keeping house with no help and bringing up three kids) would never compromise on quality and taste. Here is one of her many wonderful ‘shortcuts’:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 grams of butter
  • 250 grams of flour
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Splash of milk as needed

UTENSILS

  • A saucepan
  • A wooden spoon
  • A quiche dish
  • Your hands
Have all your ingredients ready and at your side. There is no time to go hunting for anything.
  1. Melt the butter in the saucepan under low heat. Cut into even pieces to speed up melting. 
  2. When melted, remove from heat.
  3. Mix in the flour & salt with wooden spoon. You really want to have your milk ready and open by your side here.
  4. THE TRICKY PART: As the flour starts to absorb the butter, you add a splash of milk. It needs to be enough to bring it all together without it being too wet. Better to put too little to start and add a second splash then too much. I needed to add a wee bit more milk as was a tad too crumbly. You want to handle the dough as little as possible so don’t spend too long on this; the whole process should take less than a minute.
  5. Et Voila! you have your ball of dough. Quickly slap it down into the middle of the quiche/tarte dish. That’s right NO ROLLING PINS! Now you get why I love this recipe.
  6. Time to get your frustrations out. Smack the dough out working from the center towards the edge and turning your dish slowly a round so you work it out gradually. 
  7. Set your OCD aside. Do not worry if you spread it too thin and it splits. You can just pull a little from the edge and patch the hole. If you don’t manage to get enough dough on all the borders you can just shift bits from one edge to the other. All imperfections will be hidden. I promise. 
  8. Final step is optional: decorative fork markings around the edge.
Now you have your pastry ready for whatever filling you want. You can make it ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge. I am partial to savory foods so I mostly make quiches with the odd tart tarte. You can sweeten the dough by adding sugar to the flour but you will have to play around with quantities since I never do. I am guessing a couple of tablespoons would suffice. (Or une cuillere a soup for any frenchies reading)
As with everything, practice makes perfect. This one was a little rougher around the edges – literally- as making and photographing the pastry simultaneously was more challenging than I’d expected. That said, the results were divine. 
Bon Appetit!