There's really nothing to it. I keep a jar of lentils that I use over and over again. You can use rice or another of the heavier dried pulses. The idea is to hold the pastry down while baking, otherwise the pastry will puff up with big air bubbly bits under it.
Just roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cover a lightly greased pie dish with it. I find my pastry is soft and often breaks when moving it from the bench to the pie dish. I'm not fussy with it. It's quite easy to join the soft pastry in the dish. You just need to make sure you end up with an even layer so that it bakes evenly.
|My pastry with plenty of little patched bits!|
As an explanation of why I am not fussy and don't fiddle too much with things like rolling the perfect piece of pastry that will lift off the bench in one smooth movement, is that my food needs to have low food miles, be ethical and must taste good. One of the tricks to lowering food miles is not to aim for perfection but become good at improvising. I'm learning to be the queen of improvisation! I look at what I have in the fridge or garden and then work out how I can turn it all into a meal. Yesterday a friend gave me a dozen eggs and today Mum gave me spinach from her garden. I had some sourdough in the pantry so...... tonight's dinner was scrambled egg on toast with spinach. Yum!
It becomes a necessity to improvise because, when we're hungry, there is often no food prepared already. We don't buy much in the way of 'ready-to-go' packaged food. A great example was a craving today for lemon meringue pie (and it was a strong craving!). I had used my pastry yesterday and couldn't be bothered making a batch. I have some in the freezer but it requires pre-planning to get it out to thaw. The end result of my urgent craving? I can now tell you that lemon meringue pie minus the pastry is pretty damn good! Let's face it - all I really wanted was the hit of lemon and sugar anyway!
How do you improvise in the kitchen? Do you make up recipes? Do you substitute ingredients? Maybe you have tricks I haven't even thought of!
*To those of you who read my pastry recipe prior to today, I had stated that the quantity was enough for a pie top and bottom. I made a mistake. It is only enough for one layer and I have amended the original post.