How to make pastry perfection: Top pastry tips from our Recipe Development Team

How to make pastry perfection: Top pastry tips from our Recipe Development Team

The trickiest and messiest part of making perfect pastry is the bit your Thermomix® is built to handle like a pro. The rest is easy, with the best pastry recipes and top pastry tips from the Thermomix® Recipe Developers, Rachel Shanks and Deborah Mason.

Traditionally, making pastry dough means getting your hands dirty, rubbing the flour and fat together with your fingertips. Keeping the fat cool while you work can be especially tricky if you’re a naturally warm-handed cook. But with a Thermomix®, you can do these critical steps completely hands-free.

Making light work of pastry

Your Thermomix® keeps your dough perfectly cool while it gets to work on achieving the perfect consistency – breadcrumbs for most recipes like shortcrust pastry, flaky pastry or sweet pastry, or popcorn if you’re making a puff pastry recipe. Then, all that’s left for you to do is a little light work.

Pastry making tips

  • The key is not to overwork it. A light touch is all it needs to gently push the pastry dough together to form a ball.
  • Let your pastry rest and chill. Whether your pastry recipe uses butter, lard or dairy-free spread, your dough needs to be chilled for a few hours in the fridge. Ideally, overnight.
  • Pastry freezes perfectly, so while you’ve making up a batch for your bakes, make double the amount you need and save the rest for a rainy day.
  • Sweet pastry is perfect for getting experimental with different flavours. Try adding a little cinnamon, lemon or orange zest, vanilla, or poppy seeds to complement your fillings.

Get ready to roll 

Adding too much flour when you’re rolling your dough will change the texture of your pastry, and not in a good way. So just lightly dust your worksurface surface with enough flour to stop your pastry dough from sticking. Using a naturally non-stick silicone matt, like the Thermomat, with a little flour makes this even easier and less messy.

Pastry rolling tips 

  • Leave your dough in the fridge for at least a few hours, ideally overnight, before you roll it out. If you don’t let it rest, your pie crust and top will shrink when they’re baked. 
  • Don’t overwork it when you roll out your dough, it’s likely to make it thick and crumbly.

How to make puff pastry, without getting in a huff 

This is the cheat’s guide to making puff pastry, also known as rough puff pastry. It’s pretty much the same pastry recipe, but you incorporate all the ingredients together – including the chunks of butter – to form a rough pastry dough.

How does it get its delicate flaky pastry texture? Just like with puff pastry, you roll out and fold the dough to form layers, and in the baking process, the fat evaporates and lifts the pastry to create those flaky layers.

Rough puff pastry tips

  • Keep your kitchen cool. Prepping pastry dough in warm conditions will melt the butter and merge the pastry ingredients before they reach your oven.
  • As the name suggests, you want your dough to have a rough look. The more lumpy chunks of butter you can see, the better!  
  • Don’t overwork it. If you try to smooth it out, your dough will become elastic and very hard to roll out.
  • Leave your rough puff to rest in the fridge for 60 mins before you begin rolling and folding your dough to create your layers.

3 baking basic rules for making pastry

1. No one likes a soggy bottom, so chill your fillings

Soggy tops and bottoms are made with haste. It’s when you don’t allow your cooked fillings to cool completely, the heat melts the fat in the pastry and makes it soggy. So, be sure to chill your fillings before you pop them into your pie crust, pour into tart cases, or wrap them in filo pastry.

If you’re blind baking (that’s the act of pre-baking your pastry dough before you add fillings), using Ceramic baking weights helps your pastry hold its shape and turn out perfectly crisp, smooth and evenly cooked (or par-baked) crusts every time for your pies, tarts, quiches and flans.

2. Preheat your oven to Goldilocks

Getting your oven temperature just right is just as important as getting your dough mix just so. Set your oven to the temperature recommended in the pastry recipe you’re following and give it plenty of time to preheat. If your oven’s too cool, your pastry will collapse as the butter melts before your pastry has firmed up. Too hot, and your pastry will cook quicker than your filling, so either your filling will be cold, or your pie crust and edges will be burnt.

3. For top results, aim for the middle shelf

Baking on the middle shelf in your oven will make sure your tops and pie crust bottoms are perfectly evenly cooked. Whether you’re using a pie dish, a tart tin or a baking tray, aim for the middle of the middle shelf so the heat is evenly circulated. Preheating a baking tray on the middle shelf to sit your baking tin on is another top tip to avoid soggy bottoms.

The best pastry recipes using your Thermomix®

Now that you've learnt the pastry basics, you're ready to put the theory into practice by trying out some of our triple-tested recipes using your new found skills and your beloved Thermomix®. Be sure to check out our range of bakeware, including baking trays and tins, baking mats, and more at TheMix Shop! Get inspired with some of our recipes on Cookidoo® and get ready to create something incredible.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us online, or visit our FAQs.

Remember to tag us in a pic on social media and show us your pastry perfect skills! Find us at @themixshopnz and #themixshopnz.