The other day we threw a staff dinner and invited a well known
Cape Town photographer to join us.
He brought a few of his latest photos to show us,
to which our gracious hostess commented:
"They are truly wonderful, you must have an amazing camera!"
As we lapped up the last of our dessert our photographer companion,
not missing a beat, glanced at the hostess and said:
"The food was amazing...you must have some fantastic pots and pans."
In a kitchen filled with professionals, the one whose skills I respect the most is the pastry chef. The ability to make a shortcrust pastry that is crisp, yet melts in your mouth or to temper chocolate to reveal it's glossy beauty, is something I envy.
I have always had a problem with shortcrust pastry, from baking blind to resting and rolling, everything about pastry or pies had me beat. This was before I set my mind to researching pastry and then slowly sifting through what made sense and what sounded just plain silly or complicated.
I think that having a good fool proof shortcrust pastry recipe in your kitchen arsenal, it as good as it gets.
I made this shortcrust pastry tart shell, as the base for a simple plum and frangipane filling.
Plum Tart with Shortcrust Pastry
500g Cake Flour
125g Cold Butter
Juice of half a Lemon
2 Whole Eggs
50ml Icing Sugar
Ice cold Water
In a food processor pulse the flour, icing sugar and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
With the blades running, add the eggs and the lemon juice.
Add a little of the ice water, one teaspoon at a time until the pastry forms a ball in the bowl.
Remove the pastry from the processor and place on a large piece of plastic wrap.
Flatten the pastry into a disk the size of an average dinner plate.
Wrap completely in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Once the dough has firmed up, remove from the fridge.
Lightly dust your work surface, and roll out half the dough to about 3mm.
Place the dough in the a greased tin, leave a 1cm extra lip, to allow for shrinkage while baking.
Prick holes in the bottom of the pastry.
Then bake blind for 20 minutes and then another 10 minutes without the beans.
Once you pastry is cooked, allow to cool before adding the filling.
125g Soft Butter
100g Ground Almonds
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
You might need to scape down once or twice while processing.
1 Shortcrust pastry shell
1 batch of frangipane filling
6 plums cut in half and stoned
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Fill the pastry shell with frangipane filling.
Place the plums, cut side down in the the frangipane filling.
Bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown and just set.
Allow to cool before serving.
*** If you leave the icing sugar out of the above pastry recipe and add a dash of salt you will have a great savoury pastry.
This is my submission to this month's What's of Lunch Honey's Monthly Mingle, hosted by Maison Cupcake. The theme is Think Pink.