Working With Pastry
Pastry is a versatile fall-fave. It’s perfect for creating scrumptious crust that leaves behind crispy crumbles: signs of meals that have been earnestly enjoyed. Sweet and savory, it takes the shape of whatever you’re in the mood for and adds flaky perfection. Some sweet Apple Strudel or a savory Filet Mignon Wellington, knowing how to optimize pastry so it works with you during prep will make your time in the kitchen a breeze!
The trickiest part about working with pastry is finding the sweet spot in its temperature, before and during cooking. A trick to optimizing the chilliness of your pastry dough is to place all of your tools in the refrigerator an hour or so before you begin working. Keeping the dough cool enough will limit the chance it will get warm and begin to stick, ensuring you’re able to work with it and minimizing the chances you end up with a sticky mess.
This may sound strange, but keeping a bowl of ice water around while you’re working with pastry can be a saving grace in the kitchen. Just dip your fingers in to cool them off – be sure to dry them off before reworking the dough. The natural heat from your fingers will quickly cause the dough to heat up, so keeping this bowl around is handy. You’ll want to be sure to roll out your dough in one even layer so it rises evenly.
Another important but potentially easily overlooked tip is to make sure your dough fillings are cool too. With Beef Wellington, be sure to let the filet cool off on a plate after searing and before wrapping. If you don’t allow your pastry fillings to cool, the heat will cause the fat in the dough to melt and the dough will become soggy (Gross!) So be sure to keep everything nice and chilled.
Add some egg wash over the top of your pastry before baking. This will give it a beautiful, healthy glow! Be sure to cook your pastry on the middle shelf of the oven. One of the oldest rules of baking. This will ensure the pastry will cook evenly, allowing the heat to circulate on all sides.
Now that you’ve got some insight into keeping your pastry chilly like the breeze, get doughing! Your kitchen is about to smell amazing.