I think for anyone relatively new to the gluten free world, the thought of making pastry becomes filled with a certain dread…so many recipes, so little success. Just like GF bread recipes, there are many out there that claim to be ‘the best ever’ and i’m certain some of them must be great, but sometimes it tires me looking at all the steps involved, and all the arcane ingredients I must source in order to make it.
I needed some GF shortcrust pastry for a carrot tart, which I was making to take to lunch at a coeliac friend’s – so it absolutely had to be right. I stumbled across this recipe from the incomparable Maggie Beer…she’s nothing short of a living food legend here in Australia so I kind of dived in blind, trusting that it would be on the money. And it was! Easy to make, and it rolled out soooooo beautifully – almost better than regular pastry, I thought. My only surprise was with how much it shrank, despite it being frozen in the case for an hour before cooking (see pictures below).
Normally I allow for this with regular pastry, by leaving it hanging over the edges of the tart case until after cooking, and then I kind of shave off the ragged bits with a serrated knife, but for some reason I didn’t this time – I definitely won’t make this mistake again. However, you can see in the pictures that despite shrinking, the pastry held its shape incredibly well during cooking, and still came out looking fantastic, ready to be filled with yummy caramelised carrots.
Maggie Beer’s Gluten Free Pastry Recipe
Adapted from the original recipe here
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
90g unsalted butter, chopped
150g gluten free flour, plus 1/2 cup extra for kneading
2g xanthan gum
2 free range eggs
- In a heavy based saucepan combine the water, salt and butter over a low/medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer and add the flour and Xanthan gum. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Lower temperature and continue to cook until pastry comes away from the sides and is well combined. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Whisk the eggs to combine and add half the egg mixture slowly, incorporating fully before adding the final half. If the mixture is a dough texture when you add in the first half, you may not need to add the rest of the eggs mixture.
- Turn out onto a surface on which you have placed a further ½ cup gluten free flour and knead until shiny. Try to incorporate as little flour as possible so the pastry does not go crumbly.
- Wrap pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30mins.
- Once well chilled, you can start rolling the pastry out on a lightly floured surface – I made mine about 5mm thick.
- Gently pick up the pastry by rolling it around your floured rolling pin, and then unroll over your lightly greased fluted tart pan – I used a round one which was about 24cms in diameter.
- Lightly work the pastry into the base and fluted edges until it’s all neat and flat against the tin. At this point you can either use the rolling pin to trim the overhanging edges off the tin, like I did, or leave those bits there until after cooking, to guard against too much shrinkage.
- Pop the tart case into the freezer for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200c, then remove the tart case from the freezer and line with baking paper and baking weights.
- Cook the pastry case for 25 minutes.
- Remove the baking paper and weights from the pastry case, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is dry and lightly browned.
- Remove from oven to cool slightly, before using it to complete whatever tart you might be making.
- I thought I had really messed this pastry up at the stage I mixed in the eggs…it didn’t look right at all, far too sticky and not really coming together in a ball. If this happens to you, just get it all out onto your kneading bench with the flour – it came together perfectly once I started working the dough and added some of the extra flour in.
- On that note, it should be added i’ve had very different results with this pastry using different GF flour mixes…while I can’t be 100% certain, I think it was a White Wings mix that gave me the best result (smooth texture, easy to roll), but of course you may have your own favourite combination or commercial preparation, so go with what suits you best.
- When it comes to baking weights, you can use proper ceramic ones, rice, or (like I do) keep a jar of dried chickpeas handy especially for this purpose…I think i’ve been using the same ones for over ten years now, and they always do the trick!
- You can add a couple of teaspoons of icing sugar to the flour for a sweet pastry.