Sunday, December 09, 2007

1001 Kitchen Tips #4 - A hole in none


Red onion and St. Agnes cheese tart

A mint with a hole, no problem, I’ll grant you that. There’s many a secret garden shed smoker that couldn’t do without them. A hole in your quiche or tart, now that’s a serious problem.

But we know there’s no problems only solutions. And the solution to this was supplied by Marguerite Patten last year on radio. Don’t you love those tips? She’s been there, done it, and not just got the t-shirt, she probably knitted it too. It’s one I’ve been using - the tip, not the t-shirt - ever since and has saved so much upset and naughty words.

First off, placing the pastry in the tart case, I tap the pastry down with my fingertips to close any obvious holes. This is anti-docking I guess. Docking is all very well if you want a crisp base, but if you've got a liquid filling, i.e. a tart or quiche, holes are the enemy. There's a lot more on pastry making here.

You’ve baked your tart case blind. You take it out, remove the baking beans, or in my case, flour wrapped in cling film, and brush the base and sides of the tart with beaten egg.

As the pastry is still hot, the egg sets pretty much straight away, filling all those little holes - the ones you can see, and the ones you can’t. And if there’s a gargantuan hole you can take a piece of raw pastry, stick it down to the inside of the tart with a brush of egg and smooth it/ stick it to the cooked pastry surface. You won’t be able to tell once the thing is filled and finished that it’s had a patchwork job done on it.

Now, when you put the tart case back in the oven to finish off, the sides will be stronger, so less likely to break when you trim off the excess pastry off later on (this is obviously another tip for the future). And the holes which let your filling run out of the bottom of the tin, or, if you’re using a solid tin, stick the pastry to the tin so the whole thing breaks when you try to take it out, will be a thing of the past.
She could have mentioned it earlier though.

2 comments:

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Great tip! Made loads of tarts yesterday...you could have mentioned this earlier! ;)

also doesn't the cling film melt?

James said...

Well I mentioned it here 2 1/2 years ago - how much more time do you want? =)

No - cling film doesn't melt - as seen here: http://www.thecotswoldfoodyear.com/2008/05/1001-kitchen-tips-23-flour-pie-parcel.html

You can just re-use them again and again. Much easier than baking beans.