Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Is it a samosa? Is it a pasty? Who cares... My pastry worked!

A vat of chickpea, carrot and spinach curry cooked up yesterday inspired me, for some unknown reason, to make some pasties with the leftovers. Today it seemed less of an appealing prospect, with the messy and tiresome dough-making process that may or may not succeed...

But wait! What's that? You looked up pastry making in all your recipe books and randomly selected the one that actually worked?! YES! It's true. You can make pastry without fear, without gungy hands, and without even breaking a sweat, thanks to Nigella Lawson. The woman is a genius. I've always liked her 'just chuck it all in then eat it like you mean it' approach, which is maybe why I picked her method out of all the others I looked at.

First genius stroke - put all the ingredients in the freezer for 10 minutes before starting. (Ingredients, for me, being 300g white spelt flour and 150g dairy-free marg - you just need twice the amount of flour to fat.) I sort of knew this already, but it really does make life a lot easier. Second, really amazing true genius stroke: put the flour and the fat into the food processor. Honestly, who knew it could be so easy? No craggy, gluey hands, no aching arms, no margarine all over the place. Add a bit of water (with lemon juice or vinegar and salt added) in small increments until the dough is almost holding together, then take the dough out of the machine, wrap it in a bag and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. True, I left mine in for more like an hour due to some Scrabble-related distraction, but when I took it out, the woman was right! Even if you added a but too much liquid by mistake (it's almost as though she was talking directly to me...), there was 'a dough that anyone can roll out'. Incredible.

I was impressed just with the food processor bit (I mean really, I've had a food processor all this time and I didn't know how much hassle I could be saving myself?!), and then with the smooth, lovely, cool, pliable dough that came out of the fridge - but the most impressive part? Naturally, the post-cooking eating part! Thin, flaky, crisp, but with maximum stuff-holding capacity.

Take heart, all thou pastry naysayers! It can be done.

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