Eric Lanlard's top 10 pastry tips
1) Weigh all of the ingredients and stick to the recipe - baking and pastry-making is a science - being faithful to the recipe will ensure best results.
2) Try to use the best quality and the freshest ingredients - unsalted butter is a must in my book! Don't forget flour can go off so ensure that it is kept an airtight container in cool and dry cupboard.
3) Add fresh or dried herbs to savoury shortcrust pastry dough for a tasty twist.
4) Vary the flavour of sweet shortcrust pastry by adding citrus rind or ground spices.
5) An easy way to lift a pastry circle is to roll the pastry dough out on top of a large sheet of clingfilm, then use the clingfilm to lift the pastry and drape it over your rolling pin. Lay the pastry over the baking sheet and simply peel off the clingfilm.
6) Blind baking a pastry case will ensure that your tart will not have a 'soggy' bottom.
7) Do not be tempted to overwork pastry Always 'rest' it - this will help stop it from shrinking during baking.
8) Puff pastry - when in a hurry a good quality shop-bought puff pastry will do but don't be put off making it at home if you have the time. It's the king of pastries, and the flavour and texture when home-baked are worth all of the effort.
9) Chocolate shortcrust pastry goes really well with a chocolate-based tart filling.
10) Lastly - remember to give yourself lots of time and don't give up if it doesn't work the first time - practice makes perfect! Happy baking!
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Eric's latest book, Tart it Up! Sweet & Savoury Tarts & Pies is published by Mitchell Beazley.
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If you want more of this chap try bakingmad.com Best web site for baking I've come across. Don't forget the www at the front.