Let us forget about the filling – Gentleman’s Relish and Dijon with a few herbs and some good Parmesan – we’ve already established that I do NOT, in fact, care for anchovies. I DO, however, REALLY like this shortcrust recipe from the Two Fat Ladies.
A shortcrust is a pastry suitable for pies, tarts, quiches and galettes that features a fat to flour ratio of 1:2, or, you use half as much fat as you do flour. This recipe adds some spices for a savory filling, and an egg, but there are sweetcrust versions on da Google.
•1 cup flour
•1/16 tsp Cayenne pepper
•Salt – I used my seasoned salt
•Black pepper – I used Tellicherry
•4 tbsp cold butter, cubed
•1-1/2 tsp Parmesan, grated
•1 egg yolk
Sift the flour together with the salt and the peppers, then transfer to the bowl of your food processor fitted with the metal blade.
You can easily do this next bit by hand, but I’ve gown accustomed to using my Cuisinart to make pastry dough, so that’s the way I’m gonna do it.
Give the flour mixture a good couple of pulses, then add the butter and pulse until you have a coarse meal texture.
Add the cheese and pulse again to thoroughly blend in.
Add the egg yolk and process to a soft dough, adding ice-cold water by spoonfuls if needed to draw the dough together – I added about 3 tablespoons.
Gather the dough together into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and stash it in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour; if your schedule is difficult, longer won’t hurt.
When ready to work with, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured board – this recipe called for slathering stuff on the dough and rolling it up, so I rolled mine out into a rectangle, but for a quiche or a tart or galette, roll it out to accommodate your plan and your pan.
Note: I am going through with this bit with the anchovies, mostly because the pastry IS quite nice, but also because; I believe that if we substitute something actually edible for the anchovies – like a good sliced ham – that this basic recipe would work a treat.
Tidy the pastry edges and then spread with a nice bit of Dijon mustard.
Top the mustard with – yeh, let’s stick with ham – then add some fresh greenery; the GR version called for parsley and chives, if we’re going with ham, I might add some baby spinach or ‘cress or perhaps even arugula.
Sprinkle all with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese – if you’re feeling antsy about Parmesan and ham, you could try dotting the pastry with some Boursin, or use thinly sliced Gruyère.
From the long side, roll the dough up into a tube, then wrap in plastic and stash back into the fridge for 45 minutes (I left mine overnight).
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375º.
Cut the dough into slices and arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet – I got about 20 slices out of this one roll.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until everything is nicely bubbly and the pastry lightly browned.
If ONLY I’d gone with the ham and arugula, and let the darned anchovies be…
Oh well, at least I have a nice new pastry recipe to play around with.