Sunday, 21 October 2012

National Baking Week and my attempts to conquer pastry


It's been National Baking Week this week and I've failed to do baking.

Which is a crying shame when I recently acquired a Kenwood stand mixer. As I'm still getting used to it, I thought I'd try to make pastry in it as it is something I struggle with. I was also sent some Trex to try out and the recipes included pastry items so I thought I'd give it a go.

I remember Trex from my childhood but I've never considered using it. It's a vegetable fat so I worried about the fat being hydrogenated but apparently, it's not. It's also dairy free, so great for people who have dairy allergies and want to bake. We decided to make sausage rolls for tea but the children wanted to make lemon curd pies too.

I know that when you use butter for making pastry, it needs to be super cold and cut into cubes. Trex however is not as solid as butter and cutting it up, it felt kind of greasy in my hand. For both recipes, I rubbed in the fat with the mixer which did a fine job of making it into breadcrumbs. However, I think my problem is I add too much water because I think it looks dry.

After a spot of resting, we started putting pastry into my  mini tart tin. I couldn't be bothered rolling it out, so we just used my nifty Pampered Chef tart shaper to bash out the bases.

Because we didn't have a lot of pastry left over, we just cut out stars to put on top. My only problem was that the pastry just didn't really colour. It remained very pale indeed and even though I cooked the tarts for a bit longer, the tops still didn't go very golden. I think it was the Trex because even my pastry made with butter goes browner than that. At least there were no soggy bottoms!

Once we'd made the pies, the children abandoned me for the television whilst I made the sausage rolls.

The recipe suggested adding spring onions but I decided to add a bit of tomato puree, some sage and some finely choppped onion to the sausagemeat.

Again, the pastry didn't colour well and these were even glazed with egg wash. The picture at the top makes them look more golden than they appeared in real life. I think my pastry technique still needs some work you know.

Not that anyone is complaining - there are only a couple of sausage rolls left and the lemon curd pies are disappearing rapidly. What can I make next to practise my pastry making?

(Trex sent me 3 packs to try. I have not received any further compensation. All opinions are my own.) 

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