When I ran my food business, I was often called upon to make massive amounts of pastry for quiches, pasties or its latin counterpart, empanadas. I could not afford the time (or effort, frankly) to mess around with chilled butter and rubbing butter into flour to make a crumb-like consistency. That is a lark for French pastry chef’s and domestic engineers with plenty of time on their hands. I needed a recipe/method that was going to work in my 20 gallon Hobart mixer (Hobart are the commercial end of KitchenAid). Today, I have a 6 gallon KitchenAid (with a super-heavy-duty motor). However, this recipe/method is scalable and the title rather gives the game away.
Good pastry requires only 3 ingredients.
If you can remember this and the fact that this is a weight ratio and not volume, you can make quick, easy and satisfying pastry in no time with minimal effort. The US habit of doing things in cup is a unit of volume. Dust off the scales or invest in a new digital set (preferably one that uses metric units too) and you are all set.
I never “sift” my flour, nor add salt. I will however, “whip” the flour with the mixer beater and use salted butter, DO NOT ADD SALT AND USE SALTED BUTTER – Phhhhbbtt!
Now the ratio says Flour-Fat-Liquid and I am serious. You can use any flour, fat and liquid here. I like use half whole wheat and half white with EVOO as my fat. Remember to weigh it and add the rest of the liquid slowly so that you can back off if you need to. Crisco is a fat and you could use it – but why would you? Milk is a liquid and you might use milk in some instances. Play with it. See what You think.
I cut my butter (fat) into small cubes, straight from the fridge, lob it into the flour and hit the mixer switch on a medium speed.
Mix for a couple of minutes and you will see…
The same crumb-like consistency that the pastry books are always on about.
Add the liquid – in this case, water – and you will get a softish, but still firm, pastry that clings to the beater.
Peal it off the beater and turn it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and add enough flour to make a firmish ball.
Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use.