Saturday, May 22, 2010

Maggie Beer's Sour Cream Pastry

Pastry making is not my forte. My hands seem to be too hot, or something! So, I was thrilled to find a pastry that worked beautifully for me and could be made easily in my Thermomix.

Sour Cream Pastry
Makes one large quiche or two smaller ones.
(To make a quiche, allow 20 minutes resting time for pastry and another 20 minutes resting time once pastry is in the tin, then a further 1/2 hour or so cooking time)
This is a deliciously short, flaky pastry that's well worth making.

200g chilled butter in chunks
250g plain flour

Process in  locked. (I actually put my bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill it) for a few seconds until it looks like breadcrumbs.

120g sour cream (1/2 cup)

Add to  locked and process on speed 3-4 for a few seconds until crumbly, but beginning to come together. Tip out on to floured board. Bring together and throw on to counter a couple of times (helps prevent shrinkage!). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Place on to silicon mat. Bash with rolling pin to help with rolling out. Make a large rectangle or circle and place in flan tin. Rest in fridge for another 20 minutes. Bake in a very hot oven (220C) for 5 - 10 minutes until beginning to brown. If you have high sides on quiche tin, cover with foil. Remove from oven and discard foil. Inhibit pastry by placing a tea towel over the top and pressing down.
Pour in desired filling and bake for 25 - 35 minutes, depending on size.

I made a yummy vegetarian quiche with this pastry recently:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Making Bread with a Ferment


Bread making is a fascinating subject to someone like me who likes to perfect and conquer any commercial made products. The picture above shows today's loaf which is a blend of wholemeal spelt flour and white wheat flour with linseeds and sesame seeds. It has a sprinkling of oat flour on top.

It's easy to make a loaf of bread, but I want to make a loaf of bread that is healthy, as well as having similar qualities to commercially made bread. That lovely softness and the fine texture of soft wholemeal bread is something I aspire to achieve.

I'm getting there very slowly with additions such as Wonder Fresh and Natural Bread Improver from All About Bread in Greenwood. These products only need to be added in small amounts and contain natural enzymes to help create a softer crumb and better keeping ability. I also use Ascorbic Acid, or Vitamin C powder, as it is a natural preservative for home made bread.

Another tip I've learned from reading online Richard Bertinet's Bread information is to make an extra 300g  of dough, then keep that 300g aside and place it in the fridge for up to three days. When making the next loaf, add this ferment to the regular dough. Prior to forming the bread or rolls, remove the 300g extra and place it back in the fridge for the next time you make bread.

I've been using this method for some time now and have been able to reduce the amount of yeast I use by 25%.  The bread also develops a better flavour.

This isn't a true ferment as such, because true ferments will have to be refreshed with double its weight in flour and water.What happens though, is that after a while the dough becomes too large and the extra is thrown away. That seems like a waste, so I'll keep using the method I'm using now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Natural Egg Replacement

Last night, I'd planned to make Salmon Patties for tea  with left over fresh salmon that we were given, but had no eggs! I'm lucky that we get beautiful home grown eggs from my daughter's chooks. I save all my scraps for them. But, I'd been doing a lot of cooking lately and used them all.

What to do? Well, google is my friend. I found that you can use a number of things to replace eggs, depending on what you're cooking. The wonderful Pioneer Thinking website provided the following:

2 tbsp cornstarch = 1 egg
2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg.
1 banana = 1 egg in cakes.
1 tbsp milled flax seed and 3 tbsp water = 1 egg. Light, fluffy cakes!

I had made a flax seed gel once before when trying to make a natural hair gel. I remember heating up flax seeds in a pot of water and getting this amazing gel, so I did the same again.
Place 1 tbsp flax seeds and six tbsp water in a small saucepan. Let it simmer on low heat until a gel is formed. Strain, cool and use.

Has anyone else tried other egg substitutes? If so, did they work? Please leave your comments.

I used about 1 1/2 tbsp of the gel and my salmon patties were perfect!