Nothing beats a homemade tart or pie, it's real back to basics cooking. Whether you are making your own types of pastry dough, or taking a shortcut with ready made, home baking is time well spent in the kitchen. Tarts are open, with a pastry base, whereas pies are often deeper, and almost always topped. Both can be made with either sweet or savory fillings.
Choose the right pastry for the right dish
Savory tart base Pie crust.
The most widely used pastry, and the easiest to make. It's a half fat to flour combination,and is made by rubbing the fat into the flour with the addition of a little water. For richer pastry, egg yolk is used instead of water. This pastry is usually used for savory dishes.
French style sweet pastry Savory pie topping "En croute" savory dish encasing meat or fish.
Has a higher fat content than shortcrust, but the end result is lighter. Making puff pastry takes a long time, so for quick cook pastries, buy ready made pastry, preferably made with butter.
Sweet dessert tart or tartlet.
This is a type of shortcrust pastry, made with added sugar. The sugar is added to the flour, and can be confectioners (powdered) sugar or granulated sugar.
Steam pudding (sweet or savory) Pasty.
This is made with self rising flour instead of all purpose, and the fat content is either a beef suet or, for vegetarians, a vegetable suet. It's a heavier pastry with a dough, like texture.
Greek and Middle Eastern dishes encasing a sweet or savory filling.
Also known as phylo, filo pastry is a paperthin delicate mixture of flour and oil that has been beaten and stretched. It has the lowest fat content of all the pastries. It's not easy to make at home, so buy it fresh or frozen. It can be fragile to work with, as it gets brittle when dry, so keep it covered with plastic wrap, and brush thoroughly with melted butter.
Uncooked pastry can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Wrap well in a plastic bag and seal, or wrap in plastic wrap. Although cooked pastry remains the most crisp at room temperature, leftover meat or custard filled pies and tarts must be refrigerated. Uncooked pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap well in a plastic bag or plastic wrap. Cooked pastry shells can be frozen for up to 6 months.
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