Vanilla Bean Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

This recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry is very user friendly. The pastry itself; can be re-rolled many times (the pastry scraps were re-rolled 4 times for the photo above), can be frozen & can be made dairy free.

Ingredients

250 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

65 g Icing sugar

~1/8 tsp Salt

125 g Butter (melted)

1 Egg yolk

10 g Vanilla bean paste

10 g Water

extra BM gf flour

Butter - To substitute another fat into this recipe decrease the amount of fat/oil to ~100 g and increase the amount of water to ~30 g. The actual amounts will vary depending on what is being added.

Egg - One of the reasons the egg yolk is in the recipe is that it helps as an emulsifier. If you want to take the egg out of the recipe you may need to replace it with soy lecithin (an emulsifier). I haven't tried this - a place to start would be adding 0.5% - 2.5% of the weight of the fat/oil as soy lecithin.  

Vanilla bean paste - The amount of paste used is approximately 1 tsp. I don't use a teaspoon measure to get the paste out I prefer to use a knife. I dip the knife into the paste, twist the knife when it is out of the paste so the paste doesn't fall off, then hold it over the melted butter & allow the paste to drip off. The drips get weighed. It is easier to scrape the remaining vanilla bean paste off the knife back into the jar than trying to get the last bit off a teaspoon.

Method

Sift together the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour, icing sugar & salt.

In another container melt the butter.

Add the water, egg yolk & vanilla bean paste to the melted butter. Stir to combine. Don't let this mixture cool.

Pour the melted butter mix over the combined dry ingredients & stir to combine.

It can be mixed by hand, fork or wooden spoon. Mechanical devices can over mix the dough very easily, it is best done by hand.

At this stage the dough will feel slightly greasy. Wrap the dough in plastic clingwrap or put it in a plastic bag & store in the fridge for approximately 1 hour. The dough can be frozen at this stage.    

Cooling the dough is important - after cooling the butter is fully absorbed, flexibility is increased & the dough is easier to handle.

Bring the dough out of the fridge, it will be quite hard.

Lightly dust a clean work surface (silicon mat, baking paper) with some of the extra BM gf flour. 

Knead the pastry until it is soft enough to roll out.

To stop the pastry sticking to surfaces lightly dust them with some of the extra BM gf flour.

Roll out the pastry to the required size. 

To ensure the dough is an even thickness follow this tip. Find 2 placemats (dinner setting - my placemats are ~4 mm thick) or two pieces of cardboard (2-3 mm thick) place one on either side of the dough. I have thrown away my cardboard pieces & now have stainless steel spacers 1 mm, 2 mm & 3 mm thick - they are much easier to clean. When rolling out the dough ensure the rolling pin is wide enough to span the dough and part of the top of the placemats/cardboard. My rolling pin is large – 61 cm from handle to handle. If your rolling pin is smaller it may be easy to half the dough. Initially when rolling the pin may not necessarily rest on the placemats/cardboard, however, when the dough is the same thickness as the placemats/cardboard it will. At this stage the dough should be all the same thickness.

Using the dough

Mini tarts

For the tart cases pictured below I used a scalloped pastry cutter (68 mm 2 5/8 inch), rolled the pastry out to be 3 mm thick & baked them in a 12 mini tart pan (60 mm diameter - I have 3 of these).    

The mini tart cases need to be blind baked; if the filling you will be using does not need baking or the filling has a high water content.

The mini tart cases do not need to be blind baked if the filling has a low water content (caramel, nuts).

Grease the mini tart pan. Cut out 24 thin strips of baking paper (~12 cm x 2 cm) & lay them like a cross in each of the wells in the tray. This will help to easily get the pastry cases out of the pan.

Using a pastry cutter slightly bigger than the holes in the pan cut out pastry disks & transfer these to the individual wells in the tart pan.

I blind bake by using one of the other mini tart pans on top of the mini tart pan containing the cut out dough. Firstly I grease the bottom of the 2nd pan (it is empty), I put 6 spacers (I cut up a silicon trivet) in between the wells on the pan containing the dough (this helps from squashing the pastry cases) & then I lightly put the second pan on top.

If you don't blind bake the bottom of the tart will have slightly thicker pastry & the sides of the pastry won't be as high. If you really don't want to blind bake chill the pastry cases in the pan for ~10 mins prior to baking.

The mini tart cases were baked for 10 mins at 170 C.    

Large Flans/Tarts

Grease the flan/tart pan.

Roll out the dough to the required size on a clean mat/paper (It is easier to manipulate the dough when it is 3 mm thick as opposed to 2 mm).

Lightly dust the rolling pin with some of the extra Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour to stop the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough to the pan using the rolling pin. To get the dough onto the rolling pin lift up the mat/paper & drape it over the rolling pin. Peel off the mat/paper & move the rolling pin over the pan. Gently lay the dough into the pan. 

Gently push the dough into all corners & sides of the pan. If the dough breaks don't worry it is easy to patch. Trim the dough to slightly higher than the sides of the pan. 

The pastry needs to be baked beforehand if; the filling has a high water content or the filling doesn't need to be baked. The best results are obtained if the dough is baked in the pan with nothing over the top of it (you don't need to do the traditional blind baking). The photo below shows a tart pan with dough waiting to be baked with 1/2 to be blind baked & the other half with nothing on top.     

The dough will sag a little from the top if it is not blind baked (see photo below - right hand side). However if you do blind bake the pastry tends to crack more, is more uneven in colour & tends to stick to the baking paper.  

Bake the dough for approximately 10 - 15 mins at 170 C. The actual baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the pastry, what the pastry will be used for & your oven.