Smacking the Dough to Perfection: A Culinary Digression.

It’s not that I am lazy, though I haven’t ruled that out entirely. And I really don’t like rushing things (Go Slow!) but I also don’t like spending more time than is necessary especially with two young banshees running around the place. I also have an extreme aversion to most things pre-made and pre-packaged, especially when they are simple to make.

With that, I am going to share my mother’s secret pastry recipe. While her mother and siblings all started buying pre-made ‘pate a tarte’ my mother who had much more on her plate (i.e. working full-time, keeping house with no help and bringing up three kids) would never compromise on quality and taste. Here is one of her many wonderful ‘shortcuts’:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 grams of butter
  • 250 grams of flour
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Splash of milk as needed

UTENSILS

  • A saucepan
  • A wooden spoon
  • A quiche dish
  • Your hands
Have all your ingredients ready and at your side. There is no time to go hunting for anything.
  1. Melt the butter in the saucepan under low heat. Cut into even pieces to speed up melting. 
  2. When melted, remove from heat.
  3. Mix in the flour & salt with wooden spoon. You really want to have your milk ready and open by your side here.
  4. THE TRICKY PART: As the flour starts to absorb the butter, you add a splash of milk. It needs to be enough to bring it all together without it being too wet. Better to put too little to start and add a second splash then too much. I needed to add a wee bit more milk as was a tad too crumbly. You want to handle the dough as little as possible so don’t spend too long on this; the whole process should take less than a minute.
  5. Et Voila! you have your ball of dough. Quickly slap it down into the middle of the quiche/tarte dish. That’s right NO ROLLING PINS! Now you get why I love this recipe.
  6. Time to get your frustrations out. Smack the dough out working from the center towards the edge and turning your dish slowly a round so you work it out gradually. 
  7. Set your OCD aside. Do not worry if you spread it too thin and it splits. You can just pull a little from the edge and patch the hole. If you don’t manage to get enough dough on all the borders you can just shift bits from one edge to the other. All imperfections will be hidden. I promise. 
  8. Final step is optional: decorative fork markings around the edge.
Now you have your pastry ready for whatever filling you want. You can make it ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge. I am partial to savory foods so I mostly make quiches with the odd tart tarte. You can sweeten the dough by adding sugar to the flour but you will have to play around with quantities since I never do. I am guessing a couple of tablespoons would suffice. (Or une cuillere a soup for any frenchies reading)
As with everything, practice makes perfect. This one was a little rougher around the edges – literally- as making and photographing the pastry simultaneously was more challenging than I’d expected. That said, the results were divine. 
Bon Appetit!
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4 thoughts on “Smacking the Dough to Perfection: A Culinary Digression.

  1. Hey Coco-

    This looks delicious and knowing your mom’s salmon mousse, I know it will be good. Question – do you cook the dough without filling first, with pie weights?

    Hope all is well in Bangkok. All is good and quite busy in Brooklyn.

    xo
    Meg

    • Hey Meg! So lovely to hear from you. Bangkok is great though I do miss Brooklyn at times.

      It’s funny you mention the mousse, I now make it all the time. Great in this heat and so easy!

      Re the dough, no you definitely don’t pre-cook it. Just try to smack it out to even thickness. The funny thing is I make my base super thin with more edge while my helper left it quite thick.
      Both were nice. Let me know how it turns out!

      Bisous. Xx

  2. Love not to have to precook. Need some filling advice though. Would love to try this. BTW, we’re off to France for 3 weeks June/July. Hip Hooray!

    • Wow France, that’s wonderful! I am jealous. No trip for us this year but it just means I’ll enjoy it even more next year.

      For fillings, I am assuming you are referring to quiche ideas?
      Quiche is fab because you can get rid of so many leftovers in it. Particularly good following a night of roast chicken.
      You have the base of the filling which is egg, salt, cream. I typically put 4 eggs and about 1 cup of cream and salt.
      The classic quiche lorraine is bacon bits but you can use slices and just chop them up and A ton of grated emmental cheese and another generous portion of grated parmesan. That said, living in Asia, this makes it quite an expensive dish!

      Other nice combinations are chicken bits from leftovers, onions and mushrooms. (I like to pre-cook the onions and mushrooms a bit).
      Salmon and broccoli is really nice with or without cheese. (and no pre-cooking needed!) I love serving it with big green salad, grated carrot salad, tomato salad – basically something fresh on the side.
      Get creative. Try different mixes and see what you like best and then of course let me know!

      You cook it on about 180 Celcius (don’t forget to preheat oven) for around 45 minutes or until golden and has risen. By the way if you ever think your egg/cream mixture is too little. You can always add and egg and beat in a little milk. Happy Quiching!

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