Wednesday, 24 November 2010

My Not-so-Secret Affairs with Pastries

Being born a Malaysian makes me an Asian, which means the closest things to a pastry I ever get are Wonton, Spring Roll, Curry Puff, Roti Canai and Apam Balik. Although, given my limited knowledge, I'm not even sure if they qualify as pastries. However, being an Asian has never stopped me from trying. Jiayou!!

My first encounter with pastry was several months back in Malaysia. I was attempting to make a strawberry tart. I got the recipe from a cooking show I watched. Feeling so enthusiastic, I rushed to the supermarket to buy butter, vegetable shortening, and some strawberries for the filling. I made the pastry shell according to the recipe. I am sure that some of us know the basic rules to making a pastry crust; I mean the butter must be cut into cubes and chilled, the water must be cold, and the dough must not be overly kneaded. That was all fine until the time came to roll out the dough into a circle. I was so anxious because the pastry kept falling apart. In the end, I managed to lay the pastry in the baking tin. However, the taste was not really to my liking and figured that maybe it's not the right recipe.

I moved on, not giving up, and made my second pastry, Dutch Apple Pie. I faced the same challenges while trying to roll the dough and to assemble the lattice top but the good news is the recipe worked out so well that I decided to stick to it until I find a better recipe to replace it.

From sweet pastries I made my way to savoury ones. I had an affair with two quiches in 3 months; both are very classy and rich French appetizing entrees. My first came from a store bought pastry. I ended the affair instantaneously when I found out that he wasn't what I expected him to be. It was a disaster and I can't even talk about it. And then I found Julia Child and with her generosity I was finally able to have a long term relationship with my newly found quiche. The crust was so easy to make, and to roll that it just requires a very small effort. In fact, I want to use the very same Julia Child's short crust pastry recipe to make curry puffs!! Talk about Transfiguration, eh?

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