Here is the second in our pastry basics series - we will follow our more savoury Pâte Brisée with a sweet enriched shortcrust pastry, perfect for use with fruit or custard tarts.
from Michael Suas Advanced Bread and Pastry
400 grams bread flour
160 grams powdered sugar
2 grams baking powder
200 grams unsalted butter
100 grams eggs
60 grams almond meal
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Sift the flour, powdered sugar, and baking powder and add to the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter, cubed, and mix until the butter is well incorporated into the flour. This can also be done by hand by grabbing handfuls and using your thumb rubbing the butter into the flour.
After the butter is incorporated add the eggs and vanilla. Once the dough starts to come together add the almond meal and mix until it becomes a cohesive mass.
Cover the dough in plastic film and place in the fridge for minimum 4 hours. Roll out into desired thickness and reserve in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes. Line the tart pans by rolling a sheet of pastry around a rolling pin and unrolling over the tart pan. Make sure the pastry is pressed down into the edges of the tin with as little stretching of the dough as possible to ensure it doesn't pull away from the pan when baking.
Can be made up to two days in advance. Blind bake the tart shells lined with baking paper and then filled with lentils, rice, or dried beans to weigh it down (you don't need to discard the beans after use, just put in a zip lock bag and reuse next time you need to blind bake). They need to be baked for 10-12 minutes in a 160ºC (325ºF) oven, or until light golden brown.
You can either fill and serve immediately after cooling, or if you are going to store these it is best to brush a thin layer of melted chocolate or apricot jam in the middle to prevent your filling soaking in and making the pastry soggy. These can also be stored for a few days in an airtight container after baking, or up to two days in the fridge before baking.
TIP: If you want a chocolate pastry, cut the flour down to 320 grams and add in 80 grams of good quality cocoa powder.