Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Technique: Super Fast Pastry Shell

Not that I want to play a game of one-upsmenship, but...

Recently David Lebovitz shared a unique pastry shell recipe from one of his French friends. I gave it a try and it was very good - not as good a traditional shell, but when considering the time and labor output, it is near the top of my recipe stack. But I started to think about what I liked and didn't like about his version and came up with my own which is faster, and in my opinion, even better.

90 g (3 oz) Unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 T Toasted walnut oil
4 T Water
1 T Sugar
1/8 t Salt
125 g Flour
25 g Almond flour/meal

My changes include more water to accomodate the tranfer to a microwave, the use of a nut oil (especially a toasted nut oil) and the addition of a nut flour. With these changes, we're talking shell in minutes!

Take the butter, oil, water, sugar and salt and place all of the ingredients into a pyrex measuring cup that is large enough to handle the soon to be boiling liquids. Microwave on high for 60 seconds, and fork whisk the ingredients. Now microwave in blasts of 2-3 minutes (depending on your microwave) until the liquid is hard boiling.

This method loses Lebovitz's brown butter taste, but gains flavor with the nut oil and flour. At this point you can dump the flours into the liquid and mix by hand, but I have the flours in a mixer bowl and pour the liquids into that bowl, turning the mixer on to med-low until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. Stop - don't over-mix.

Just as in Lebovitz's version, then press the dough into your pan and make it as smooth as possible. Dock the bottom and toss in the freezer. You don't need to do this but I like a pretty crust. Bake in a 410ºF oven for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. As you can see in this pic, you can get very thin and very flaky. Let me know how it goes for you.

1 comment:

Tri2Cook said...

Cool Rob. I'll definitely give it a try. Traditional ways of doing things are great but that doesn't mean they can't be improved on by the open-minded.