So after finally making the meat pies that I was craving I found myself quite dissatisfied with the shortcrust pastry that I had used. I decided that I needed to learn how to make better pastry. I looked and looked and finally settled on a recipe that looked simple and perfectly flaky. Now, my first attempt at the pastry was only half successful so I will have to update this soon enough, but even though my pastry seemed far too soft and buttery it still cooked up just fine. This time around I made beef pasties but next time I'll be making some sort of chicken pie, and hopefully for that one I will be able to show you some perfect, golden puff pastry. For now, though, here is a photo of the one perfect pasty and the recipe. And don't forget to set aside about 2 hours for making the pastry, because there's a lot of rolling and folding and waiting to be done.
Adapted from this recipe
400 grams plain flour
50 grams butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
220 grams cold water
200 grams pastry margarine or butter (original recipe called for 300 grams but I used butter and it was far too much, my pastry was too soft, and perhaps pastry margarine would be different but I don't think so)
In a bowl rub the first measure of butter into the flour, then add the salt and water and mix to a stiff dough. Let it rest, covered, for 15 minutes, then roll it out. While the pastry rests get out the butter/margarine to soften Try to make it into a cross shape (mine is more a wonky square) and try to leave the centre slightly thicker than the bits sticking out to the side. Then place your pastry margarine/butter in the centre (the recipe that I followed made it look so tidy, much nicer than mine).
Fold the sides on top of the butter, so that you have a smaller square.
Roll the entire thing until it is just a centimetre thick. Then fold the sides inwards, like below, and let it sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Then repeat this 4 times.
Finally the dough is ready to use. Roll it out to about a half a centimetre thick (the original recipe said 3 mm but that was too thin, the filling soaked through and made holes). Line pie dishes with pastry, or make pocket-style pies like my take on Cornish Pasties below. For the filling this time around I used leftovers from a beef stew I had made, but of course any filling can be used, so long as you remember that it should be cold when you place it in the pastry!
I baked my pasties until the pastry was golden brown, which took longer than I expected, about 40 minutes or so. Most of them burst open, but at least one was very perfect. And they were delicious. Although the pastry wasn't really as puffy and flaky as the original bloggers. So I'll be trying this pastry again really soon, and hopefully it will be perfect next time.