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Food processor pastry help
Posted: 10 October 2009 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello again. I hope you can help me…it’s not about one of Rose’s recipe, rather my tried-and-trusted recipe for Pate Sucree’ from Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Just Desserts’ book. I’ve been making it for years, by hand because I didn’t have a food processor nor a mixer. I finally bought one a few weeks ago and have made Rose’s pastry recipes with her food processor method, with success. However, I’ve now made my pate sucree twice with the food processor and it just comes out overworked. I’ve looked in Rose’s book at how she does the Cookie Pastry, but her process seems really different and I’m worried that it wouldn’t work for my recipe. The annoying thing is that Gordon Ramsay refers to a ‘mixer’, presumably one of those Chef Aid type of things? But I have a food processor, a Kenwood top of the range thing with all bells and whistles that was recommended by the Institute of Good Housekeeping.

I have a feeling that I might need to keep processing to a minimum, and today I mixed less than on my previous attemp but probably still too much. The manual says to use max speed for pastry. Today I used the pulse setting which I guess is max speed anyway.

I post the recipe below (hopefully Gordon won’t mind, he’s got enough money anyway) - if you could have a look at it and give me some advice, I’d really appreciate it.

P?te Sucr?e

Makes about 1 kg

250g butter, softened (I use the UNSALTED type)
180 caster sugar
3-4 vanilla pods (I use a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
2 large free range eggs, beaten
500g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until smooth and creamy, but not fluffy. Slit open the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife, adding them to the creamed mixture.

2
With the mixer on slow speed, gradually incorporate the beaten eggs. stop the machine once or twice and scrape down the sides.

3
Sift the flour and salt together. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the flour in 3 or 4 stages. As soon as the mixture comes together as a crumbly dough, stop the machine.

4
Gather the dough together and turn on to a lightly floured surface, preferably cool marble. Briefly knead it with your hands until smooth, this should only take a minute or two. Avoid over-working the pastry or it will become softened by the warmth of your hands.

5
Divide into 3 or 4 batches and wrap in cling film. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling out. Freeze any that you don’t need now for later use.

6.
Before you roll out P?te Sucr?e, give it another light kneading, to prevent it from cracking as you roll. Dust your work surface very lightly with flour and roll out the pastry quickly, using light, even strokes. If you apply too much pressure you will release the butter in the dough and it will become difficult to shape.

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Posted: 10 October 2009 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, I can see why this wouldn’t work well in a food processor.  Food processors generate a lot of heat through friction, and to use them for pastry, you really need to start from cold butter.  In this type of creaming recipe, the butter has to be warmer, so by the time you get to the end you’ve added too much heat. Actually, the two recipes are pretty similar in ingredients, except that Ramsey uses a bit more sugar and egg whites instead of cream. I would try a half batch using Rose’s mixing method and see how you like it.

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Posted: 10 October 2009 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Matthew for your reply, it’s reassuring…! I guess not that much can go wrong, I could make half a batch and if it’s too soft or something make cookies with it.

So where Ramsays describes using a food mixer, do you think that generates less heat?

EDIT: also do you think that the creaming process at the beginning is essential? What would happen if I chucked all the ingredients ( and the butter was cold) in the processor at once?

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Posted: 10 October 2009 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yes, I assume he is referring to a stand mixer, and those don’t generate heat in the way that a food processor does.  I think you should start with cold butter, however you decide to mix—Rose has two different methods for this in the Cookie and the Pie and Pastry Bible respectively, so you could consult those. In my limited experience with this type of pastry, I have found that the creaming method makes a very tender but also crumbly crust, whereas Rose’s method is not crumbly and I guess a little closer to a pie crust.

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Posted: 10 October 2009 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks again Matthew, I’ve just had a look in Rose’s book at her method. I think it’s worth a try with half a batch.
Now that I think about it, this recipe has always been a bit hit and miss even by hand (not taste-wise but for consistency), but obviously by hand you get a better feel for how it’s going. But it’s really hard work by hand..!

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Posted: 10 October 2009 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Sounds like an overheating issue to me also.  Perhaps a 500 gr of flour dough is too much volume for the food processor to handle.  The food processor blends pastry better when it is only 1 or 2 inches full, so it can process quicker and uniformly.

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Posted: 10 October 2009 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hector I think you’re also right, I didn’t think of this but when I tried to make a double batch of Flaky Cheese Crust Pastry the food processor really struggled….hmmm….

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Posted: 10 October 2009 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Absolutelly, you want blade action and that is only up to 1 or 2 inches!  This is the reason I am trying to get the lovelly 20 cup cuisinart -)

On my 11 cup, 1 recipe of flaky pie crust or up to a double crust, is all it can properly blade thru.

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Posted: 11 October 2009 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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when using a food processor, you need to make this in a reverse fashion: add all the dry ingredients to the bowl first and process for a few pulses, add frozen butter that has been cut into small pieces, process until mixture resembles small peas, add the eggs and process for a few more pulses until dough is thoroughly combined (sometimes it will form a ball around the blade).

I’ve adapted Rose’s sweet cookie crust to make it in a standing mixer (because I make it x4 for the shop), and I essentially make it the same way using the paddle attachment with butter that is just slightly softened rather than cold.

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Posted: 12 October 2009 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thank you so much Roxanne, I will treasure your instructions grin

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Posted: 12 October 2009 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Roxanne’s got it! That’s pretty much the method Julia Child developed, when food processors first came out. I have her book from 1970, From Julia Child’s Kitchen. So sweet to read how excited she (and the rest of the baking & cooking world) were rapidly becoming—though they weren’t sure, then, about all the applications. She knew it would certainly work for pie dough - including pate brisee, sucree, with or without eggs, etc. She wrote: “...it’s sinfully easy in the marvelous machine illustrated on page 154.” And there, indeed, is one of the original FPs designed for the home market, imported from France.

Here are her instructions:
“Use either the plastic or the regular blade in the machine. Put in the flour and salt. Rapidly cut butter and lard or shortening into 1/2” bits and drop into machine. Turn on for 3 seconds. Stop. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the ice water and turn on machine—in 2 to 3 seconds, the dough has just begun to mass on the blade, and the pastry is done.

“Turn it out onto your work surface and with the heel of your hand (not the palm), rapidly and roughly smear it 6 to 8 inches out in front of you, by 3-spoonful bits - a lump the size of a small egg - to make a final blending of butter into the dough.

“If pastry seems dry, you can at this time sprinkle on droplets of water as you smear - it should be malleable, but not damp and sticky. Form into a cake 5” in diameter, flour lightly, wrap in plastic and a plastic bag, and chill for at least 2 hours before using.”

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Posted: 13 October 2009 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Wow thank you! I am printing this entire thread. I’m so glad I asked you folks, I was becoming despondent because after wanting a food processor for so long, finding out that pastry comes out worse was not what I had expected!

Thank you grin

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Posted: 23 October 2009 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Update - after getting home from work tonight I made some pastry with the food processor method that you folks described, i.e., dry stuff first, then the butter, then the rest. I had put the butter in the freezer after chopping it up in cubes and had put the flour in the freezer too. I made half the amount, which is enough for a large tart.

I was a bit alarmed at first because the result didn’t go into a ball or ‘stick’, but rather looked like cooked cous-cous. I spooned it into a ziplock bag and kneaded it the ‘Rose method’. It’s a much harder dough than I had in my previous attempt, so it’s looking promising.

Anyway, it’s in the fridge now, I’ll line the tart case tomorrow morning so that I have time to freeze it before baking it completely (see my other thread) for tomorrow’s experiment….

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Posted: 24 October 2009 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Asphodelia, cous-cous is good but it should have come together when you kneaded it with the heel of your hand.  Let us know tomorrow and good luck - it’s a great crust.

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Posted: 25 October 2009 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Well this is the outcome. The pastry did come together when I kneaded with the ziplock bag method. However, something happened which I hadn’t come across before, i.e. the pastry felt sticky, not sticky as in soft, but as in sugary. It was almost as if the sugar was sticking? So although it was ok to roll, it felt as if it wasn’t smooth enough. It cooked ok , I froze it for 30 minutes first, and tasted ok, but I know that it wasn’t 100 % perfect. Could it be that it didn’t mix properly?

Next time I will use Rose’s recipe and her method word by word (this time I used the method she gives for the flaky cream cheese pastry); her recipe is very similar to mine anyway but I didn’t have any cream in the house so I had to stick my old recipe.

Any idea why the sugar stickiness?

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Posted: 25 October 2009 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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ASPHODELIA:
  Good afternoon to you. My friend, I believe the sugar wasn’t fully melted.  Next time either try honey as I have done & still use or process the sugar thru your food processer. I hope my insight will prove to be helpful to you. question

  ~FRESHKID. rolleyes

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