I fear I’ve been a little, flaky, lately. I’m trying to keep up appearances but somewhere among all the sauces and drinks and sugar laden treats round these parts I feel a touch lost. My Berry Filled Hot Cross Buns were a redemption of sorts but I look at all the unpublished, healthy meals sitting on my computer and in my camera and simply sigh.
In addition to the usual juggling act there is quite a big project I’ve been working on and a few other things that will hopefully come through sooner than later… I kind of feel like it is all holding together by a thread!
Good think this pastry crust is even flakier, I don’t feel so bad. [How’s that for a lead in, ha!]
Remember the ridiculously decadent Chocolate Caramel Tart I shared as part of the SABH Cocktail Party last week? This is the crowning glory – pastry made via one of the oddest methods I’ve ever tried, rendering one of the best crusts I ever eaten.
I wanted to make sure to share it so you could make the tart for Easter if you were so inclined – what’s one more chocolate treat on a weekend filled with chocolate, right?
One last thing before I run, if you’ve ever played video games you know about Easter Eggs – those little treats you unexpectedly stumble upon, or perhaps search endlessly for – kind of like hidden B-side tracks on a CD. And as if that little comment didn’t place me firmly enough into Gen X the last video game I played was Zelda, on the original Nintendo… don’t even try to do the math.
So in the spirit of Easter here’s a little, not so hidden, Easter Egg treat about my newest project. I’ll be sharing it properly next week but in the meantime, click here for a peek and have a wonderful Easter/Passover/Non-denominational weekend. I think I need some chocolate.
French Butter Pastry
This really is the the flakiest crust you will ever make. It is also the oddest method I’ve ever come across. Trust the genius of the French, they know their pastry.
Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) tart shell
- 150 g (5 ounces/1 slightly-rounded cup) unbleached white flour
- 90 g (3 ounces/6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, chopped, at room temp
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp raw sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Filling of choice
Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F). Measure flour and set aside. Place a removable-base 9 inch tart tin on a baking sheet.
Place all other ingredients — butter through salt — in a medium oven-proof bowl and place bowl in hot oven for 15 mins. Butter will bubble and just start to brown at edges.
Remove bowl from oven, dump in flour and stir quickly with a long wooden spoon until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and forms a ball — do not touch bowl with your bare hands.
Tip hot dough into the waiting tart pan and spread roughly across the base with a spatula.
When cool enough to touch, use your fingers to press and spread evenly into tin and up sides — an off-set spatula is great here to get a really smooth base. Prick all over with fork and refrigerate for 5 mins to firm up slightly.
Bake 15 mins until golden. Cool, fill and bake again as required. I highly recommend using it for this Drunken Chocolate Caramel Tart insanity. If using with a no-bake filling, simply bake the crust for a minute or two longer, then cool and fill.
- Mixing flour into hot butter: put on oven-mitts and remove the bowl from oven. Set bowl on a heat-proof surface before dumping the flour in and stirring. Wearing a mitt on each hand means you won’t grab the hot bowl by accident or get splattered by the butter, trust me on this one…
- Oil: any vegetable or nut oil will work.
- Butter: splurge a bit and use the good stuff.
- Flour: using a scale is best but a rounded cup lightly spooned in is pretty accurate for 150g.
- Bowl: I used a Pyrex bowl and it was perfect, hypothetically I would think you could heat the butter/water mixture in a large saucepan on the stove, just don’t burn it…
- Dough: when you even off the top edge of the pastry keep the extra bits and if there are any cracks when the crust comes out of the oven simply smooth a bit of extra dough into them – I didn’t have any issue with cracks but better to be safe than sorry.