Pastry making. Before we go into making any of the dishes involving pastry, a word about making it. I have been making pastry since I was a child as it was one of the ways Mum made things stretch, meat pies with not much meat in them and lots of vegetables, apple pies to fill us up and rhubarb pies with rhubarb from the garden together with custard so thick you could slice it.
Mmmmmm (Birds custard that is, not proper egg custard :))
Usually when making pastry, some kind of solid fat is used as shortening. Butter, lard, hard margarine or blocks of shortenng sold especially for making pastry. But on the Meal Plans on this site, we don’t usually have enough solid fat to spare to make pastry with, so I will be using a technique I learned to make pastry using the vegetable oil that we will have available
When I was involved with the £100 a month plan over on www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk , and we needed to make pastry, but only had oil, no solid fat, I was up for the challenge.
If you are familiar with making pastry, you will know that usually you have to add the minimum of liquid to keep a pastry short, otherwise it can go rubbery and unpleasant. With oil pastry, my first thought was that it wouldn’t need any liquid as the oil would provide all the moisture needed. My goodness! It was like trying to roll out a crumble topping!
After a lot of experimentation, I found that if I added almost as much water in ml as the oil, the flour sort of slurped it all up and became very compliant, rolling out beautifully.
Add the water bit by bit, it will look a little like a batter at first. If you add too much water, the pastry is easily rescued by adding a little more flour, but if you are following the weekly plans, you may not have enough flour to spare from the weekly bag to do this and still have enough to make the other flour requiring dishes for the week, so go slowly.
The flour will bind everything together and you will have a soft ball of pastry dough, ready to roll out.
You can rest it for a bit if you like, it helps the dough to relax and the gluten to develop. Or you can go straight into rolling it out. If there is enough water in it, it should roll out and stick together like this, like pastry made with solid fat