Yummy bits and bobs from my kitchen!
For my tried and tested gluten free pastry recipe, scroll to the bottom of the page.
The restaurant I currently work at has an ethos of providing options for people with special dietary requirements. One of the dietary requirements we see quite a lot is Gluten free food. As such it was decided that our new menu should include a new gluten free option- Gluten free quiche.
This had me flinching slightly- I tend to do the pastry at work, but my one previous attempt to make gluten free pastry wasn’t exactly a disaster, but it had left me with immensely brittle pastry that only held together because it was filled with set chocolate ganache. The thought of having to produce workable quantities of this pastry on a daily basis was enough to give me shudders (only little ones, but shudders never the less) down my spine.
So I decided to try again to find a method that would result in a pastry that I’d be happy to serve. Firstly I followed the instructions on the bag of gluten free flour that involved making the pastry in a classic method, and rolling the pastry between two oiled bits of cling film. I ended up with a broken mass of pastry pieces that simply would not stick together, and Clingfilm bunching up all over the place. Never the less, I tried baking this pastry and….
image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/cucundra/
…I did not take a photo of this pastry but this image of the desert floor is a pretty good approximation. Lesson learned, do not trust the instructions on the packet and do not waste your time fighting with oily cling film- it does not save gluten free pastry.
My second attempt went better- I used a whole egg hoping that this would help to bind the pastry. After chilling and then allowing to come to room temperature, I rolled out the pastry on a floured surface. It seemed to be going well, until I presses it into the case… and more holes appeared. Annoyed I took the pastry out of the case again and worked it a bit in my hands, while I thought of what other Gluten free binders I could use.
Now, usually at this point, the pastry would be destroyed. Over working classic shortcrust pastry makes it tough, chewy, unpleasant to eat and liable to cracking and shrinking back as it bakes. I however noticed that the little bit of pastry I was kneading between my fingers had become soft and supple. A little softer than regular pastry, but still, an approximation of gently worked, well made short crust.
I refloured my tart tin and keeping the pastry slightly warm, pressed it into the tart case and trimmed down the edges. Now this was not quite as pretty as the fine shortcrust I usually make…. but at least it was holding its own. I popped it into the oven and to my delight, it came out as a slightly lumpy, but nicely textured pastry case. Brilliant, through trial and a bit of error, I have a workable gluten free shortcrust recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: easy makes: 12 4 inch pastry cases
250g cold butter, diced to make it easier to combine with the flour
500g gluten free plain flour
20ml ice cold water
Tip: Don’t be afraid to work this pastry. As gluten free flour is missing the gluten (protein) that can make regular pastry go tough, you don’t need to worry so much about over working this pastry.
In the bowl of a blender/ food processer, wiz together your flour and butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processer, just rub together with your fingers- this will just take longer)
Mix in your egg- the pastry should start to come together at this point. Add in the cold water. Keep working and the pastry should come together as a ball.
Separate your pastry into small, egg sized pieces, and flatten out slightly with your hands.
Press each piece into a floured mini tart tin.
Roll over a rolling pin to flatten off the edges and remove excess.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 15 minutes (without baking beans, gluten free pastry doesn’t seem to bubble up like regular pastry).
Remove from the oven when the pastry is firm (it will still have a little give, and doesn’t seem to harden up entirely, like regular pastry, until it has cooled).
Fill with your favourite pie filling and cook according to instructions.
Handle with care, as this pastry is still a little delicate compared to traditional shortcrust.