tarts, flanks, and tender flakes...

A little short on time today but wanted to share a few things soooo...
I heart flank steak. I was surprised to find, recently that a lot of people have never tried it. it has a ton of flavor. it can tend to be a little tough (like most flavorful meats), and benefits greatly from a marinade or spice paste. I marinated this one in whiskey, beef broth, salt and peps, and a little shaved garlic. give it a quick sear and slice AGAINST the grain. delicious. Also in the rotation up there are my first attempt at hot and sour soup and one of the best braised chickens (super vague recipe here, although this time I strained the broth and made a roux to thicken it with, then combined everything back together) I have ever made. but that is not what this post is about. this post is about the best pastry dough (as in pie crust) recipe you will ever make. trust me (I'm talking to you erin reitz!!--you better try this, at least once!). it's from gourmet magazine's (r.i.p.) "Best of gourmet, 2007 cook book", and it is flaky, tender, buttery, etc. the best I have ever had or made. so without further...

Pastry dough (from Gourmet magazine, best of 2007)
for a double crust pie (just halve it for singles, natch...)
2.5 cups all purp flour
1.5 sticks cold unsalted butter
1/4 veg shortening
1/2 tsp salt
5-7 tbs ice water
blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt (you can use a bowl with your fingertips, pastry blender, or a food processor. just don't put your fingertips in the food processor...) until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea size) butter lumps. Drizz 5 tbs. water over mixture and blend until incorporated.
give the dough a squeeze: if it doesn't hold together, add more water, 1/2 tbs at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. (don't overwork dough or pastry will be tough)
turn out dough onto work surface. divide dough into 8 portions. with the heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. gather all of the dough together with a pastry scraper. divide dough into 2 pieces, then form into a ball and flatten into a 5 inch disk. if dough is sticky, dust with additional flour. wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
for sweet pastry dough, add 2 tbs. sugar to flour mixture and proceed with recipe as directed.
for fancy pants savory dough (dish's addition) you can add things like rosemary leaves, parsley, thyme, etc. I would do this If I were making a quiche or a pot pie or something.
pastry dough can be chilled up to 2 days.
I froze mine directly after I made it. I like to have it on hand for a quick dessert. just thaw and you are ready to rock. on the tart pictured above I just did this:
peeled, cored and sliced 3 apples
plumped a half cup dried fruit in a sauce pan on med heat in a little brandy (I used golden and reg. raisins, and some dates, and then strained this.
combined this with the apples and a 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and about a tsp. cinnamon.
rolled out my pastry dough into a sort of circular amoeba-type shape (i have tried and tried but rolling pins are just not my strong suit, if you have any tips, let me know), and pour the filling into the middle. next, fold in the edges, overlapping one another until the whole tart is sealed. place on a parchment or silpat lined sheet, brush with eggwash (one beaten egg, a little dash milk) and bake at 350F until golden and delicious (about 30-35 minutes). serve with espresso or strong tea. yums it.


Erin said...

Hey! Thanks for the shout out and the MIND READING! I've been using a pastry dough recipe that has been continually disappointing for several months (too shrinky and waaaaaaay too greasy from the amount of butter called for)... and yet continued to use it, hoping for a pie crust miracle. And wouldn't you know it, none came. So I am more than ready to try Gourmet's!

I know that there are a lot of "purists" who only believe in all-butter pastry doughs and ain't havin one thing to do with shortening, but after going through that brief phase myself, I am no longer one of them! I think the right balance of butter & shortening produces a far more well-rounded result than just butter. I want richness *and* light flakiness, and I've never been able to make it happen using only butter. I will try this recipe ASAP and let you know what happens. If it's really pretty, I'll send pictures. :)

Erin said...

Oh! And I have a dough-rolling tip for you: After smacking the dough down on your floured surface, run the pin over it a couple times in a straight line (ideally rolling from the center only), then rotate the dough 1/4 of the way around. Continue rolling & rotating--your result will probably be a lot closer to circular than it ever has been before! I also flip my dough over a few times to sort of keep the non-sticking-flour application even.

Now if I only had a huge, flat surface to roll out all the doughs of my dreams...

the DISH said...

thanks! I'll definitely try that with the empanadas

marfyc said...

Well, I'm not that great with rolling out dough either, but I always put it between sheets of waxed paper, and then rotate and roll also.... I have no problems with sticking!


piccolinadesigns said...

... got my new toy yesterday. A *beast* of an espresso machine!!!

I hold up my glass to you, buddy. You have to come over here and play!!! It is wicked awesome.

the DISH said...

Ugggghhhhh... i so wish I was there right now. that sounds soooooo good. Can't wait to see it and try it out.