Sour Cream Pastry

I heard local chef Iain Lawless talk about this particular pastry on ABC radio. Why was I so keen to try it? Because he said

“I think my coffin will be lined with that stuff ’cause I like it that much.”

Anything that gets that sort of endorsement deserves at least one shot by me. If I can make it, then anyone can, because I am certainly no pastry queen. I’m a lazy cook and pastry usually scares the hell out of me. But I can attest that this didn’t take long and was much easier than expected. But the best bit… it actually worked! It was crispy and flaky and much better than I expected.Sour cream pastry

So my words to you…give it a go. It’ll take you 10 minutes to make and if you have some frozen puff or short crust pastry as back up in the freezer, you’re unlikely to go wrong!

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g very, very cold butter
  • 180g sour cream

 Equipment

  • Scales
  • Food processor (with chopping blade attachment fitted)
  • Rolling pin
  • Cling wrap

Method

  1. Place flour into food processor.
  2. Add butter and pulse until resembles bread crumbs. Do not overwork, chunky is better.
  3. Pour into bowl.
  4. Add sour cream in batches and mix with knife. Do not overwork.
  5. Bring pastry together with hands form into a ball.
  6. Wrap in cling wrap and place in freezer for 1 hour. (Iain Lawless says place it in fridge for 10 mins, but I haven’t tried this technique yet, I used the freezer).
  7. Remove from freezer.
  8. Place strips of cling wrap flat onto bench surface and dust with flour.
  9. Unwrap pastry and place on floured surface. Cover with strip of clean cling wrap.
  10. Roll out from centre of ball until you reach a thickness of around 0.5cm.
  11. Place on pie or other delight you’ve created.
  12. Wash with milk and make some holes to allow for steam to escape.
  13. Cook until golden.
  14. Gloat that you’ve made amazing pastry!

 Scientific stuff

Pastry is best if it is not chewy. What makes pastry chewy? Gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. It is a protein that gives elasticity to dough. Kneading or working of pastry or dough promotes the formation of gluten stands and cross-links. Moisture also effects gluten development. In pastry to many of these strands make pastry shrink when cooked and chewy or tough.

To ensure gluten doesn’t ruin your pastry you need to:

  1. allow the gluten strands to relax (which is why you rest it).
  2. add shortening or fat as it inhibits the formation of cross-links and reduces the incidence of flour coming in contact with moisture (which is why you try to coat the flour particles in butter).

As mentioned, gluten adds elasticity to dough. Kneading bread dough enhances the gluten strands and cross-links. These structures trap the carbon dioxide produced by yeast, enabling the bread to rise. For anyone who has attempted making dough (such as pizzas) with gluten-free flour will understand that no gluten can make for a crumbly, fragile and sometimes disastrous outcome!