I love pastry! I love the buttery taste, the flaky texture, and the rich smell of it while it’s cooking in the oven. Unfortunately, I hate all the calories (and so do my hips).
I’ve tried a few “lower calorie” versions found on the internet, but I don’t like any of them. Vegetable fillers sound like a good idea, but you lose the taste & texture of real pastry, and low calorie butter substitutes are evil and should be avoided like the chemical loaded fake food plague they are.
So what’s a pastry lover on a diet to do? I’ve found only one solution – eat the pastry, just less of it. Instead of making an entire pie with both top and bottom crust, make single serving mini pies in ramekins, and put pastry cut-outs on the top only. This looks beautiful, avoids trying to serve a piece of pie without a bottom, looks like you did a lot of work (you actually did less – shhhh), and puts the small bit of pastry that you do eat right under your nose where you can see and smell it.
This is the recipe I used for mini beef & mushroom pies (to be posted on Thursday). As it’s a savoury pie, I didn’t add sugar but if you’re using it for sweet pies, add a tsp or two of sugar in step 1.
Tips & Tricks:
- Extra pastry freezes well. To thaw, bring it out of the freezer the night before – don’t use the microwave.
- Use a fine grater (cheese shredder) to cut the butter into the flour.
- Very cold butter works best. If you have the time, pre-measure and freeze it.
- Butter gives you a nice buttery flavour, but shortening or lard give the best flaky texture. Margarine never works well. A mix of half butter / half shortening gives both flavour & texture, but you can decide what you want to use.
Basic pastry for all types of pies.
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 Tbsp cold water
- Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.
- Grate the butter into the flour with a fine grater and give it a stir. (Because my butter was frozen, I used my fingertips to mix. My hands are always cold anyway.)
- Sprinkle the water over the flour and mix with a fork.
- Squeeze a small handful – it should stick together. If it doesn’t, add another 1/2 Tbsp of cold water and try again. Try not to overwork your dough too much.
- Squeeze your dough together and put on a countertop dusted with flour. Roll thinly (1/8 of an inch) and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
Per serving: Calories: 94, Fat: 6 g, Carbs: 9 g, Protein: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g