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Shortcrust pastry

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Shortcrust pastry is one of the most important basic pastry doughs, indispensable in the kitchen for preparing biscuits and various traditional Sicilian desserts such as baked cassata or melon frost tart. The ingredients are few and making it at home is really simple, just follow a few precautions and then you can make fruit tarts, with hazelnut cream, but also simple tartlets. Not all shortcrust pastries are the same and the recipes are endless: soft shortcrust pastry, without eggs, without butter, with cocoa, with dried fruit. There are three best-known types of pastry: the classic in which all the ingredients are worked and the flour is added only at the end; the whipped one, in which you begin to whip the butter together with the sugar with the whisk; and finally, the shortcrust pastry sablés or in Italian sandblasted, where flour and butter must initially be worked together very quickly to create a sanded mixture. The rest of the ingredients must then be added, the important thing is that the blades mix at low speed. Alternatively, you can transfer the mixture onto a work surface and continue working by hand. Depending on the preparation you will have to make, whether they are biscuits or a tart, you will have to choose the thickness to use, remembering that to be worked well, a shortcrust pastry needs a resting time in the fridge in order to firm up. At this point all you have to do is get to work, let's prepare it together!
If you want to find out how to use a soft shortcrust pastry, take a look at our recipes: baked Sicilian cassata, strawberry tart with custard, jam tart and, for those who are gluten intolerant, gluten-free tart.

RECIPE

Scope Breakfast, Desserts
Portions 1 1kg block
  • 500 farina 00 with 8.5-9.5 proteins (150/180W)
  • 2 medium eggs cold from the fridge
  • 250 g burro cold from the fridge
  • 200 g powdered sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon biological
  • 1 teaspoon orange or lemon paste optional

Before you begin, know that

  • Sugar determines the crunchiness of the pastry, a greater quantity makes it less crumbly. When choosing sugar, for example, it should be taken into consideration that granulated sugar absorbs much more liquid than icing sugar, influencing the quantity of eggs to be added. By using icing sugar, it is called a fine pastry because it is more crumbly.For friability and softness, butter should be taken into consideration: increasing its quantity allows you to obtain delicate pastries that melt in your mouth.

Classic method

  • Knead in a planetary mixer with a paddle hook, or by hand on a work surface in this order:1 – sugar, cold butter cut into cubes, flavourings, salt2 – cold eggs from the fridge3 – farina
  • Work the flour as little as possible.

  • Form a smooth and homogeneous dough. Flatten, cover with cling film and store in the fridge for at least an hour. Once the time has passed, the pastry is ready to be used.

Sandblasted method

  • It is kneaded in a mixer with blades, or in a planetary mixer with a paddle attachment. 1 – cold butter cut into cubes, flour 2 – sugar, salt and flavourings3 – cold eggs from the fridge
  • Place the cold butter and flour into a mixer and mix at high speed until you obtain a sandy mixture. In this way the flour particles are surrounded by fat, making the pastry waterproof. The pastry will be more consistent and crumbly.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds to mix everything until you obtain a grainy, slightly compact dough.

  • Transfer everything to the work surface and finish working the dough with your hands quickly until you obtain a smooth and homogeneous dough.

  • Flatten, cover with cling film and store in the fridge for at least an hour. Once the time has passed, the pastry is ready to be used.

Cooking

  • The cooking of the shortcrust pastry changes based on the type of dessert you are preparing and the thickness (tart, biscuits, tartlets). Always refer to the recipe you are preparing and the type of oven used. In our case the cooking is for tarts: 170°C in fan mode one level below the central one of the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes.

Blind cooking (blank)

  • Prick the bottom with a fork and line the inside with moistened and wrung out baking paper, trying to cover the base as much as possible, including the sides. Insert the dried legumes (chickpeas or beans) in order to create a weight without ruining the dough. Trim the edges of the excess paper. Being a pasta rich in butter, it will tend to swell during cooking. With this simple and practical method you will avoid the problem.

  • Let it rest in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes before baking. Cook in static mode at 170-180°C for 15 minutes on the central level of the oven.

  • Once the base is cooked, take it out of the oven, remove the legumes and the sheet of baking paper.

  • Then, bake the base again for another 10 minutes without paper and legumes. Once finished, remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Cooking varies according to your oven: before taking it out of the oven, always check that the pastry is homogeneous and well golden. If you use a larger cake pan than the one called for in the recipe, remember that cooking times will be longer.
To obtain a softer and more crumbly pastry, add a pinch of baking powder.
The shortcrust pastry can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Alternatively, it can be frozen for about 2 months.
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