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French pastry is so delicious, it is rather like shortbread, light, crisp and buttery. It turns a simple fruit tart into a dessert from heaven! Making French pasty is just a technique that you will acquire with a little patience and once you have the hang of it you will be making the most delicious tarts and quiches you have ever tasted. The French use a special low gluten flour but you can produce a good pastry using all purpose flour if you cannot buy French flour. You can buy French flour in good specialty stores or today of course you can buy it online - such are the wonders of the internet, everything at your convenience! The French also use unsalted butter and this gives a crisp texture but again, you can use three parts butter to one part vegetable fat, which produces a light crisp pastry to be proud of. However, a combination of butter and a good vegetable fat is a wonderful mix and gives the results you want. You can either make your pastry by hand or in a food processor. However, it is really a good idea to make it by hand to begin with so as to learn the skill of making a good pastry - to get the feel of the pastry in your hands and to learn the basics first. You must work quickly and not handle the dough for long. I cannot stress this too much - this is the secret of making a good French pastry! This is to prevent it from getting warm as you do not want the butter to soften. So work with light fingers and very quickly. Add the water and blend quickly until you have the mix into a ball of dough. The secret here is this - too much water will make the pasty hard! Be careful and only use as little as possible! Place the pastry dough on the floured board and using the heel of the hand, press the pastry down and away from you. Gather the pastry back into a ball with a scraper and place into a waxed bag or polythene bag which has been lightly dusted with flour. Place the dough in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. When rolling out your pastry do this quickly so that the fat does not soften. It is very difficult to handle when this happens. However, when this does happen just press it to fit into the tin and even though it may not look good, it will still taste wonderful. Just do not worry as you learn the technique!

There are of course different types of French pastry depending on the type of dish you are making. An example would be a sweet dessert or a savoury quiche. Which pastry is best? To learn more

about the art of making this wonderful pastry and for free recipes go to

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French Pastry Making Tips  

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