I am a planner. I love knowing ahead of time exactly how things will go and to make sure I have everything organised. When it comes to dreaming up ideas to bake I like to have the idea fully formed, go to the supermarket to make sure I have everything I need and then begin. This time I did everything the wrong way around. It started with these.
I love pastry. Growing up my mum always made her own pastry for pies (as did my aunts and Nano) so I have been thoroughly spoiled with amazing home made rough flaky pastry over the years. When I was first learning to bake on my own the ultimate goal was to be able to achieve a pastry that was at least somewhere close to the quality of mums. As it turned out pastry really wasn’t my thing. It would get to warm, to wet, to crumbly, to sticky, the list goes one. Basically anything that could go wrong would. I couldn’t roll it out into one piece (even though mum insists Nano never bothered and was always happy to do patch jobs on her pies) and I would just end up frustrated. The worst part was if mum helped, even by doing one quick mix with the fork when adding the water, the pastry would be perfect. She seriously had the magic touch but I was determined to get this right on my own.
I honestly don’t remember anything magical about the first time I succeeded with pastry but I would say that I probably was calm, not putting pressure on myself and was working with cold ingredients. You see pastry isn’t really that hard as long as you keep whatever fat you are using cold and don’t put your hands into the mixture. It doesn’t matter if you use a pastry cutter, a knife or a food processor to mix the fat into the flour as long as you just remember to keep it cool (and no hands, seriously can’t say that enough). Also don’t fret if the pastry seems a little crumbly after adding the liquid (which also needs to be really cold, it till still hold together well and the resting period in the fridge helps to more evenly distribute the moisture throughout the pasty.