JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shaken hot-water pastry

This recipe is so good, so staple, that I'm giving it again ... here, we ate it with onions, anchovies and olives - a pissaladiere - but it's infinitely variable, is quick, easy, delicious, and HAS NO BUTTER.

And for those who think that cholesterol-watching is a joyless activity, dooming you to eat horrible food, just a reminder that this is a real, traditional French recipe ... amazing, really, that it ever fell from our consciousness.

Shaken hot-water pastry

225g flour
1 tbsp caster sugar (leave it out if you're making something savoury)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
4 tbsp mild salad oil
1/2 beaten egg
3 tbsp hot water

Put all the ingredients into a lidded plastic box and shake it for at least a minute. When you take off the lid, you will find a lumpy mixture; form it into a ball with your hands, and roll it out on a floured surface. The original recipe says this is enough for a 24cm tin, but I have made this a number of times, and find that it is rather too much for a 24cm tin, better in the next size up, because this pastry is better when it is very thin. You can use this straight away, no need to rest it.

As I said in my previous post on this pastry, the recipe comes from Geraldene Holt's French Country Kitchen, a wonderful book worth following up if you've never seen it. Actually, everything of hers I have is worth reading and re-reading, she is one of THE great cookery writers. It's amazing that she's not better known, but I suppose it has something to do with the recent ascendence of Italian cookery in this country, accompanied by the falling from grace - or at any rate fashion - of French food.


Ed Bruske said...

anchovies, yes. another great choice. even better if you get them salted rather than canned.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That really does demand an investigation, I'm just not in my kitchen at the moment.

Joanna said...

Ed: I've noticed that what's good for the individual (oils in anchovies) is often good for the environment too. It's not infallible, particularly in the area of fish, where human greed (overfishing) has played such a bigi part. It sounds as if you know about the energy involved in canning, which is something I'd like to understand, particularly in comparison to freezing.

Tanna - I hope you're somewhere nice, having a good rest from the kitchen, rather than pining to be there!

Riana Lagarde said...

that looks so fabulous! you always give me great ideas!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Thanks for giving me another nudge about this pastry and introducing me to a superb cookery writer.

Thinking about it the emphasis has shifted from French to Italian food. I tend to think of French food being a bit of a palaver, which is totally unfair. Perhaps it was watching my mum sweating over complicated recipes in the 60's and 70's.

Joanna said...

Thanks for the kind words, Riana

CS: I know what you mean about French food and palaver, although I think that is haute cuisine .. the country coooking, which is the sort that Geraldene Holt writes about, concentrates on good ingredients carefully treated. Just what's wanted!

Nick said...

Do you think this pastry crust would freeze well? I was thinking of making a double batch so I don't have to find a use for half a beaten egg, but I don't think I can use that much dough up at once.

Joanna said...

Not sure, Nick, but ordinary pastry freezes well, and you can freeze egg whites succesfully (never tried to freeze a yolk), so it's worth a try - will you let me know how you get on?

Nick said...

Sure. Not sure when I'll actually get around it, but I'll be sure to let you know.

Sandy in Oregon, USA said...

Thank you, this is just a heavenly blog, so life-affirming, consciencious, concerned about good food and good for the earth and for people. Thanks for the cookbook info too. (If I didn't have a senior moment I'd remember the cookbook author's name--I will certainly look up that book). I just love that name, "Shaken hot-water pastry," I've never heard of such a thing, and I can't wait to try it. It's so kitcheny, so simple (as in rustic), and so homey. I salute you with my rolling pin, flour-dusty egg-stained recipes, and good home-cookin' fervor.