Shortcrust pastry ingreds + consistency + 'resting' 'refridgerating' and bringing up to room temp again?

(15 Posts)
Slimchance Mon 16-Dec-13 12:36:08

Pastry people or pastry chefs I need your help please!

I've had to make lots of mince pies recently (60+) twice for two separate school fund-raising events.

My pastry is pretty good (if I say so myself) when all goes well. But it's not consistently good and I want to know why. It's driving me nuts!

I made 8 "balls" of pastry for each batch of mince pies. I used butter, flour and water (like to use half butter/half lard but suddenly can't find it in the supermarkets where I live). Rested them all in the fridge. Some of them came out of the fridge and were fine. But some came out of fridge (and when I tried to roll them out once they were up to room temp) they just crumbled back in to crumbs under the rolling pin.

Why is this when I used the same ingreds and the same amount of water for each batch?

My sister says she uses margarine to avoid this problem (I was quite surprised by this because she is a really good cook - would have thought the flavour would not be as good).

And how long do you all rest your pastry for - and in how cold a fridge - I find it takes ages to come back up to room temperature if you leave it more than 30 mins?

Final question (sorry) is the resting part really necessary? I made two batches of pies virtually from scratch (only had time to rest for 5 mins in cold place) because had to replace pastry that had gone wrong at last minute. And it didn't shrink or anything - seemed exactly the same as the others that had gone through resting process.

Thanks for any advice!

Slimchance Mon 16-Dec-13 14:23:45

Anyone?

Slimchance Mon 16-Dec-13 16:04:19

Bumping forlornly ...

Slimchance Tue 17-Dec-13 08:15:00

no pastry makers about?

[blubs over half-made mince pies]

trackydacks Tue 17-Dec-13 08:20:48

Certainly not a pastry expert, but I used Nigella's recipe for mine and she uses half butter, half Trex - might help? And I rolled them out with the pastry still cold from the fridge, didn't wait for it to come back to room temperature.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 17-Dec-13 08:31:22

I always use lard for my pastry, I had to use butter the other week and it just didn't come out as well - weirdly crumbly as you describe and the consistency wasn't as nice when they were baked.

I roll cold - I refrigerate for at least half an hour and then roll with an enamel rolling pin in a cold kitchen as quickly as possible to avoid the pastry warming up and getting greasy.

I roll cold too.

Gets quite flaky when baked, but that is what I like

Use butter only, as prefer the flavour

adagio Tue 17-Dec-13 08:36:47

oo watching with interest -

I can share with you that butter (or yellow marg) is shorter than lard (or cookeen/trex/white marg) - lard is for 'flake and hold' butter is for 'short and crumbly'. I recall that from a school food tech lesson many years ago

So an all butter recipe will be much shorter and more biscuity in the end. But no idea why multiple batches would behave significantly differently though. You say you used same water amount, did you measure it? Because if your flour was a different temperature it would hold more or less ambient moisture, which is why you always add the water by eye to get the consistency.

Hopefully a pastry chef will be along shortly with a proper answer grin

I have lots of things to make as was contemplating the best route - many batches at once or one start to finish at a time.

RunRunRuby Tue 17-Dec-13 08:38:09

I made beautiful pastry the other day with just butter. As others have said, I rolled out straight from the fridge rather than letting it warm up. Using the same amount of water for each batch might be the problem. I mix the butter and flour to the breadcrumb stage then add water gradually until the dough just comes together but isn't sticky, so I don't necessarily use the same amount each time.

overthemill Tue 17-Dec-13 08:47:42

You have to let it rest so it becomes elastic, it's the gluten so it's really important step. My pastry is very good ( so I am told) and I use, say, 200 g flour, 100g butter or stork if need be, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 egg yolk, 3 to 4 tablespoons of ice cold water. I make it in food processor these days to avoid touching it. Do flour and all dry first (fat being very cold ) then add egg then add water 1 spoon at a time until it balls. You can do this by hand but I never do these days.
Then I cut it into sizes I want (eg into two bits one bit bigger for bottom of pie 1 a bit smaller for top of pie) cling film each bit and put in fridge to rest for 30 mins. Take it out about 15 mins before I want to roll it out. I make the bits of pastry into a flat disc before cling filming it.
Then I roll it, put it in the container(eg pie dish) then back in fridge for a bit and carry on. It has to rest again before you bake it.
God this sounds hard work but I just fit it in my day. Often I start making sausage pie at 8.30 for that days dinner and it just gets fitted around the day.
Google ' tarts with tops on' whoever wrote that is a great pastry chef and I basically do what she says!

Slimchance Tue 17-Dec-13 09:02:34

Wow! Great to be suddenly inundated with replies!! Thanks everyone!!!

Very interested in how many of you roll out cold. I think the setting on my fridge must be set too low (or I am leaving it in too long) because my balls of pastry are like rocks when they come out - impossible to roll until they warm up a bit. Also v. useful to have reassurance that rolling from cold is the correct thing to do.

And I'm definitely going to renew my search for lard or Trex or equivs over here now on the basis of your posts. Thinking about it, I don't think I had the crumbliness problem when I used to use lard.

As for the addition of water, no I didn't measure it, was just doing it ad hoc, but perhaps I didn't add enough on one or two occasions. I can't think of any other variable.

Overthemill I've never attempted pastry with egg before - I think you are in a higher pastry-making league than me smile but will definitely Google. I've spoken dsis no 2 since posting and she says the same as you about always resting for a second time in the baking container so will do that too. Thanks v much for gluten info!

Thank you again everyone! That's all very useful info - I'll go back to pastry making with renewed confidence now!

overthemill Tue 17-Dec-13 09:10:40

slimchance the egg is critical IMHO. I think it really helps glossiness of pastry and elasticity. When I occasionally miss it out I regret it big time. Recently bought ready made pastry in an emergency quiche situation and it was rank.
Good luck! And eat the failures anyway!

overthemill Tue 17-Dec-13 09:11:30

Ooh and measure, measure, measure

Slimchance Tue 17-Dec-13 09:12:58

Thanks Overthemill once I am out of pressured mince pie manufacturing mode I may take the plunge and try making it with egg!! I'd be really interested to do a comparison tasting.

Don't need any encouragement to eat the failures I'm afraid [surveys waistline regretfully] grin

overthemill Tue 17-Dec-13 09:14:11

grin

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