Sweet crumbly pastry crust

Pastry ballHappiness is to be found in baking from scratch. A crumbly pastry crust is made by mixing four simple ingredients. The following recipe uses minimal amounts of butter, sugar flour and  one egg. Thus there is no need for worries about enjoying the fruits of one’s labor.

Reading this recipe will take more time than making the crust itself. Shaping the dough into nice pleats is more fun than cutting the baking parchment to fit into the tart pan. Making more than one crust at a time is definitely worthwhile, as it requires little extra effort

I like to prepare pastry crust for sweet tarts first thing in the morning, with a clean kitchen table top and a fresh outlook on the progress of a new day.

Ingredients

  • 150 grams of lemon-scented flour or unbleached organic wheat flour
  • 1 whole egg from a naturally fed chicken
  • 50 grams of organic chilled butter
  • 50 grams of raw cane sugar

Sift the flour into a bowl. Slice the butter with a knife  and drop it into the flour. Rub the two ingredients gently between both hands into coarse pale yellow crumbs. Use as little pressure as possible while rubbing the flour and butter together, as this is one of the essentials to a nice light crust.

In a separate bowl whisk the whole egg and raw cane sugar together with a fork. Make a hole in the middle of the flour bowl and pour the egg mixture in the middle. Mix the ingredients further with a pastry cutter or fork, until a light caramel-colored dough forms, that just barely stays together. Shape the ingredients into a ball with the gentle pressure of your hands. This is the second key to a nice crust.  Wrap the dough loosely with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Cut a piece of baking paper into a circle large enough that it will cover both the bottom as well as the edges of a spring pan for a tart 6.5 centimeters high and  in 18 centimeters in width. Shape the baking paper to fit, folding it into pleats around the edges. Remove the pre-shaped baking paper from the tart pan and flatten it slightly. The chilled dough will be rolled out directly onto the paper.

The third key to a good crust is to roll out the pastry crust with a rolling pin using a minimal amount of pressure. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Dust both hands and a rolling pin with a bit of organic flour. Put the dough directly onto the pre-shaped baking paper and press it gently into  an even disk with the palm of your hands. Shape the dough into a flat circle with the rolling pin by moving outwards with pin from the center of the dough to the top of the baking paper, from  the center to the bottom, followed by quick rolling movements  from the center to the left edge and finally, from center to the right edge of the baking paper.

Dust the rolled out dough with flour and fold each side loosely towards the middle of the dough circle, putting a piece of baking paper between the bottom and the folded edges. This will prevent sticking while fitting the dough into the pan.

Lift up the rolled out dough along with the baking paper and place it in the middle of the tart pan. Lift the dough open one side at a time, pressing it into shape around the edges. Pinch any extra dough into nice pleats. Put the tart pan back into the refrigerator to chill for 30-45 minutes.

Remove the chilled crust from the refrigerator. Cover the crust with a circle of baking paper being sure to cover the edges. Fill the tart pan with unbaked beans, rice or ceramic pastry weights. Pre-bake the crust 15 minutes at 170 degrees. Remove the beans or pastry weights from the tart pan along with the baking paper. The crust is now ready to be filled with something special and freshly made.

♦  Suggested combinations
Fill the pastry crust with  a smooth lemon and lime cream filling.

♦  Notes
This pastry crust may be frozen as soon as it has been rolled into shape. Cover the unbaked pastry crust with plastic wrap and put save it in the freezer. The crust keeps well in the freezer for up to a month and can be pre-baked while frozen.

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