Making Pastry With Oil
Making pastry with oil
Before we go into making any of the dishes involving pastry, a word about making it. I have been making pastry since I was a child as it was one of the ways Mum made things stretch, meat pies with not much meat in them and lots of vegetables, apple pies to fill us up and rhubarb pies with rhubarb from the garden together with custard so thick you could slice it.
Mmmmmm (Birds custard that is, not proper egg custard :))
Which fat to use?
Usually when making pastry, some kind of solid fat is used as shortening. Butter, lard, hard margarine or blocks of shortening sold especially for making pastry. But on the Meal Plans on this site, we don’t usually have enough solid fat to spare to make pastry with, so I will be using a technique I learned, to make pastry using the vegetable oil that we will have available
When I was involved with the £100 a month plan over on www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk , and we needed to make pastry, but only had oil, no solid fat, I was up for the challenge.
How To Make It
If you are familiar with making pastry, you will know that usually you have to add the minimum of liquid to keep a pastry short, otherwise it can go rubbery and unpleasant. With oil pastry, my first thought was that it wouldn’t need any liquid as the oil would provide all the moisture needed. My goodness! It was like trying to roll out a crumble topping!
After a lot of experimentation, I found that if I added almost as much water in ml as the oil, the flour sort of slurped it all up and became very compliant, rolling out beautifully.
So when you make this kind of pastry, put the flour and oil in a bowl, and almost as much water as oil, and just gently stir it with a spoon.
Add the water bit by bit, it might look a little like a batter at first. If you add too much water, the pastry is easily rescued by adding a little more flour, but if you are following the weekly plans, you may not have enough flour to spare from the weekly bag to do this and still have enough to make the other flour requiring dishes for the week, so go slowly.
You can use this kind of pastry for most recipes using pastry. I’ve used cheapest vegetable oil, mild olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, all of which worked really well
You can rest it for a bit if you like, it helps the dough to relax and the gluten to develop. Or you can go straight into rolling it out. If there is enough water in it, it should roll out and stick together like this, like pastry made with solid fat
If you haven’t got it quite as amenable yet, don’t worry, everything that we make on these plans you can stick bits and pieces together in the pie tin etc, and it will taste just fine
You can add a tblsp or so of icing sugar if you are making a sweet case if you like; or a little sieved cocoa. Or for a savoury one, there is grainy mustard and/or a little grated cheese. You don’t need to, they are just optional flavourings, I usually use it just as it is
- 70 ml water up to 100ml, you may not need it all
- 100 ml oil or 50g. NB ml of oil do not weigh the same as grams
- 200 g flour self raising, 6p
- Put the flour and oil in a bowl, and add almost as much water as oil, and just gently stir it with a spoon.
- Add the water bit by bit, it will look a little like a batter at first. If you add too much water, the pastry is easily rescued by adding a little more flour.
- The flour will bind everything together and you will have a soft ball of pastry dough, ready to roll out.
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one