All French pastry recipes are delicious because it's like eating shortbread, so light, crisp and buttery. It makes your mouth water just to think about it.
Yet so many people are afraid to try and make it at home. Please don't be afraid to try these recipes as it's just a technique that you will acquire with a little patience and once you have mastered it - hey presto - you will be making the most delicious tarts and quiches you have ever tasted.
For all French pastry recipes the ingredients are so important. We need to get it right.
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.
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.
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. Il faut mettre la main a la pate!
The most important part of making all French pastry is the
hand mixing. You must work quickly and not handle the dough for long.
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.
If you choose to make your pastry recipes in a food processor, do not over do it, just mix for a short time or the pastry will be hard.
Here are some of the most popular types of French pastry with instructions on how to make them. They are very easy and as with most things, practice makes perfect.
This is the short crust pastry used for quiches, pies etc.,
A sweet short paste is used for tarts, especially fruit tarts. This paste can also be flavoured with almond, vanilla or brandy to give it a wonderful flavour.
Everyone loves this pastry!Light and buttery, it can be used for savoury and sweet pastries.
Pate a choux or choux pastry is the choice for making those wonderful puff shells or profiteroles which we have all come to love.