- Brought up baking from a young age I love to make delicious cakes to share with family and friends. Much like my mother, I can be one of those cooks who measure by "eye" rather than with a measure, and invariably add in or take out ingredients depending on what is in my cupboard. However, I do also appreciate the need to follow a recipe exactly for best results, as the "pour it in" method is really for those who have done a lot of baking over many years. I use this method for new recipes. So come share my recipes and learn some baking skills if you are not confident. Here in New Zealand we will be asked to "bring a plate" to a social gathering. This request has thrown many new immigrants, even from England, so I assume it is a New Zealand thing. Many a new New Zealander has turned up with their empty plate wondering why they need to bring one! Maybe the hosts have a limited supply? Well yes, sometimes that is the case.
Sometimes we are also asked to bring a glass. But they do not mean the same thing. Asked to bring a glass you just need a vessel for drinking out of. Asked to "bring a plate" you are expected to have something tasty on it to share with the other people!
Sometimes as in all cultures, we like to take something to give our hosts when they have invited us for a meal. I had two events last week. The first I was to "bring a small plate to share". Along with my own glass......for wine. Lots of yummy wines for tasting , which were the remains of a Wine Tasting Competition.My dilemma....what to take to eat. This would be a meal for some. I decided on a Smoked Chicken Quiche, but decided it would be easier for people to handle small individual tarts. I had all the ingredients except the pastry. I must confess I was tempted to jump in the car and head to the supermarket .....but realized it would be quicker and more painless to actually whip up a batch in the kitchen whizz, and it would certainly taste better too.
Flour, butter and water with a pinch of salt . Not too much in the way of ingredients. The main trick with pastry is not to over handle it, and it needs to be cold before it goes in the oven. Using iced water also helps.
I am a lazy cook when it comes to pastry. I haaaaate having to roll it out. So I don't!
I press the soft pastry into the individual pans.....or even a big pan if I was making say a quiche or tart. Then I put the whole tray in the fridge while I mix up the filling.
It turns out beautifully every time.
Keep Pastry Shells in Airtight Container for Emergencies It is really handy to keep an airtight container full of pastry shells. The second event where I needed a plate of something nice to eat, we were invited to a neighbours for dinner and to watch the rugby. While we were told just bring the wine......the several bottles we got to take home from the Wine Tasting a couple of nights earlier, I know our neighbour loves to have a dessert. He is an amazing cook but doesn't usually do the sweet course.
Again a dilemma. I was feeling a little lazy and had limited time. Aaaahhhhh......I know. I had some sweet chocolate mini pastry shells I had made several months prior. Would they still be edible? Well.....not only were they edible, they were as tasty and delicious as the day they were made.Because they were chocolate flavoured, I filled them with marscapone flavoured with orange rind and juice, and cointreau for a little kick. Using my favourite cake icing nozzle I filled each mini case, topped with a chip of dark chocolate and they looked great. They tasted pretty good too! I don't usually add sugar, but would have added a tablespoon of castor sugar if a sweeter filling was required. Sweet short pastry is just as easy to make in your kitchen whizz and as I have said can be stored for some time. So keep a little stash in your cupboard for emergencies! You can fill them with any number of fillings.
Another really delicious filling is marscapone mixed with a good lemon curd. It is quick, easy, and really delicious......especially with some berries on top!
Till next time , Gail
PS I'll put some pastry recipes up in the next few days
Brought up baking from a young age I love to make delicious cakes to share with family and friends. Much like my mother, I can be one of those cooks who measure by "eye" rather than with a measure, and invariably add in or take out ingredients depending on what is in my cupboard. However, I do also appreciate the need to follow a recipe exactly for best results, as the "pour it in" method is really for those who have done a lot of baking over many years. I use this method for new recipes. So come share my recipes and learn some baking skills if you are not confident.