Do you love rich, buttery, golden crusted pastry? I know I do! When I was pregnant with both my children the thing I craved more than anything was flaky, melt in your mouth, puffs of pastry wrapped around or under all manner of sweet or savoury goodness. I loved it then and still do now (only minus the gluten fuelled gut aches).
Thankfully, one of the [many] great things about an excellent shortcrust pastry is that you want it to crumble the second it hits your mouth, making it perfect for non-elastic, hard to knead, gluten free flours.
Gluten based flours, such as wheat become more elastic the more you work them. Kneading releases the gluten protein, which adds the stretch you need when making dough for such things as bread. Gluten free flours do not have this natural elasticity, making it much harder to convert them to dough, but not so with a short pastry such as this.
You see, really good shortcrust pastry is made using only enough work to bring it all together. No need to (over)-knead folks, no need at all. To keep pastry light, crumbly and flaky, what you will need is well chilled ingredients, in particular butter. The more butter the flakier your pastry will be.
“But butter is a dairy product!” I hear you cry, “aren’t you intolerant to dairy or lactose or something like that?” (Ahem, OK, so maybe you don’t think anything like that, but segue’s can be hard to come by sometimes!)
Well yes, I am in fact unable to effectively absorb too much lactose*, one of the naturally occurring sugars in dairy milk. Fresh milk and products like cream and ice cream are high in lactose, meaning I am unable to consume them without my gut reacting in an unpleasant manner. Milk that has been processed into fat, such as butter or hard cheese have significantly reduced amounts of lactose, making them more tolerable for someone like myself. Though they are not products I can consume in large amounts on a regular basis, I am able to eat them occasionally with little to no ill effects. Can I get a big YAY!
*- (Please be aware this may not be the case for others with lactose intolerance – a person’s ‘tolerance’ level is generally only figured out after testing by a qualified professional, elimination and reintroduction – it is a very individual thing).
The other important thing to know about pastry is that it works best after being left to rest. Doing this will allow the proteins in the flours to relax and this will make it easier to roll out and prevent shrinking while baking. Best to plan ahead on this one if at all possible, you will be much happier with the results, I assure you.
Here’s how mine this one comes together;
- 130 grams brown rice flour
- 40 grams buckwheat flour
- 40 grams potato starch
- 25 grams tapioca starch
- 55 grams almond meal
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Pinch sea salt
- 100 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 - 2 tablespoons cold water
- Using a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients - flours, starches, meal, gum & salt.
- Add cold butter & using your hands or a pastry blender (pictured), work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.
- Add the egg & 1 tablespoon of water and knead gently until well combined & a ball forms. (if the dough appears dry & crumbly, add a little more water & knead again).
- Wrap the dough in cling film, refrigerate & allow to rest before rolling out - at least 3 hours (or overnight)* if possible.
So there you have it, an easy to make, extremely satisfying gluten free shortcrust pastry you can use as a base for all sorts of baked goodness, especially savoury pies and tarts. I hope you like it as much as we do!
What is your favorite way to use pastry? I would love to hear about it.
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!