Pastry making is a technique that every home baker should try and master. Nothing can compete with homemade pastry. The main point about making pastry from scratch is to have cold hands.

Corned Beef Slice
A Slice of Corned Beef Slice

My home made Corned Beef Slice seems to have been a hit at the afternoon tea party which I did the baking for a few weeks ago. I have been asked to share the recipe as the person has recently bought a pie maker and would like to try and replicate it. The problem is the recipe is a one I remembered from my childhood when I baked with my mother (so it is her recipe really). My mother and I tend to make this slice without scales and just pure guesswork. So I am going to have to make it again, write down the amounts of ingredients and then send it to the customer. Oh for the days of weighing by eye, not a set of scales in sight. How come something I completely make from scratch and don’t really follow a recipe for is the one that people most like. There is something to be said for just making up a recipe as you go. In fact come to think of it all of my pie recipes are just weighed by the eye and not using scales. The main pies that I made for the market stall were corned beef slice, minced beef and onion pie, cheese and onion slice, vegetable pies. I used the same pastry recipe for all of these and as it is used in vegetarian pies I always used “trex” which is a vegetable fat rather like lard. The main reason I used trex was not only that I am a vegetarian but that I didn’t like the smell of lard. I have never had any complaints about using trex. If anything all my customers have loved my pastry.

Sweet Mincemeat Tarts
Sweet Mincemeat Tarts

I love making pastry making in any form. My favourite one to make is sweet shortcrust pastry but I do my own version of this and use it in many different recipes from sweet mince tarts for Christmas, lemon meringue pies and jammy dodgers for the children. It is a very adaptable pastry.

My flaky pastry recipe involves grating the frozen butter into the flour before adding the water. It is a recipe which I first saw Delia Smith using. I have used this pastry making technique ever since as it is so much quicker and easier than the traditional method for making this pastry.

Choux pastry which is used for eclairs and profiteroles is a pastry I have not made for a long time and about two week s ago I made it again following a Mary Berry recipe. It was so easy and quick to do producing very dainty eclairs for the afternoon tea. This is a pastry which I will be using again but for a savoury recipe.

As for hot water crust pastry and rough puff pastry I tend to stay away from these two pastries. I don’t really make anything which requires these pastries but I also feel that too much fat is used in these recipes.