Pastry is such a clever little ingredient with a host of uses. Knowing how to make the most of the various pastry options will ensure that simple ideas create the ‘wow factor’, not only in the kitchen but once plated and served. Impress guests with these simple ideas.
Puff pastry – Probably the most widely used of all the pastry varieties, this is a light, flaky, leavened pastry containing several layers of butter. It is repeatedly folded and rolled out to produce the lightest of aerated layers.
Shortcrust pastry – Based on a half fat to flour ratio, shortening is rubbed into plain flour to create a loose mixture that is bound using a small amount of ice water. Rich, buttery and perfect for achieving the ultimate pie, tart or quiche crust.
Spiced puff pastry twirls
Delicious served as a dipper with classic cheese fondue
Roll out 500g of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh rosemary, chopped, 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh thyme leaves, chopped and 5ml (1 tsp) cayenne pepper. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold the pastry in half and repeat with the same amount of herbs and seasoning. Cut into long strips and twist. Place on a lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated 200°C oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden.
Puff pastry squares
Easy, impressive and a fabulous idea for a tasty starter…
Roll out 500g of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Slice the pastry into 8 squares. Use a sharp knife to score a border 5cm from the edge of the pastry. Prick the inside of the border with a fork to ensure the outer border puffs up and the centre does not rise. Brush the squares with beaten egg, place on a lined baking tray and bake for 8 – 10 minutes in a preheated 200°C oven until golden brown. Fill with savoury fillings for a speedy starter or a sweet option for a quick and easy dessert.
Shortcrust tart cases with a twist
These cheesy cases will make your next savoury tart or pie extra special
Roll out 500g of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the pastry with 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh rosemary, 5ml (1 tsp) paprika and scatter with 60ml (¼ cup) grated Parmesan. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold the pastry in half, roll and cut to fit into 6 greased 10cm fluted tart tins. Prick the pastry cases with a fork and bake blind in a preheated 180°C oven for 12 – 15 minutes.
Delicious filled with garlicky roasted vegetables
Take 8 sheets of phyllo pastry. Keep the pastry stacked and slice through the stack to create ‘four’ squares. Grease a 6-hole muffin tray with butter. Place one phyllo square in a muffin hole. Brush with some melted butter and place a second square in the same hole at a slightly different angle to create the cup. Repeat with the remaining pastry in the other muffin holes. Brush with melted butter and bake in a preheated 180°C oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden.