One more culinary highlight of last week was the excellent – and egg-less ! pastry recipe I discovered the morning when the girls more or less insisted I make again the fresh strawberry pie I made a couple of times in France.
Making any kind of tart or pie was such a cinch then, because supermarkets there sell very adequate pastry sheets. But never having mastered the art of making pastry at home, I haven’t made any sort of pie since we moved back to India almost four years ago now. Clearly, that’s not an acceptable state of affairs for Noor especially, for she keeps exhorting me to “surely you can at least try to make pastry at home, you know. Come on! You can do it !” (All for the fresh strawberry pie they love).
So last week, when I bought a big lot of strawberries from my local fruit shop – the girls reminded me once again that I’ve been promising to attempt making pastry for some time now. I guess I was in a generous mood because I was on holiday, so decided to spend some time searching for a recipe online, especially one without egg (because Indira’s mildly allergic to egg and so I try not to cook with eggs too often).
And that is how I found this particular one, which Chef David Lebovitz shares in a quite humorous post here on his blog. It’s French origin; that it needs no eggs; that I found it on the blog of a well-known chef I’ve heard of previously; and that it sounded so incredibly easy to make; it all encouraged me to think I should take it on and I’m so glad I did ! For it really is so simple to make, and produces great results too.
As it turned out, I misjudged the amount I needed to make for the size of the only pastry dish I have in my kitchen just now, as well as the amount of strawberries to use for the pie. So the end-result – the fresh strawberry pie – was not quite worthy of a photograph (too much fruit on not a large-enough base), which is why no picture this time. But now that I’m sure about the pastry dough recipe, I’m surely going to make this dessert again before the strawberry season is over, and hope to be able to make a picture-worthy pie then !
Merci beaucoup, Chef !
French Pastry Dough
(will make one 9 inch shell)
- 90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 150 g (5oz, or 1 slightly-rounded cup) flour
Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).
1. In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
2. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.
3. When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.
5. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.
6. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
7. Let the shell cool before filling.
Be careful with the hot bowl of butter, advises Chef Lebovitz. Not only will the butter spatter a bit when you add the flour, he points out, but it’s uncommon to have a very hot bowl on the counter and easy to simply give in the urge to grab it with your bare hands.