So, in an attempt to overcome my recent Pastry FAIL, I decided to have a pastry lesson with my beautiful and wonderful friend Jocelyn.  She’s the type of cook who only uses recipes as a starting point and just follows her nose from there.  She’s bleedin’ brilliant.

So I went over to Joc’s new place last night to watch how she does it.  Below I’ve outlined her process of making the pastry and I’ve put in pictures of our resulting pie but haven’t put in the ingredients.  They were from Joc’s Cafe Paradiso cookbook though and it was an Aubergine, Tomato and Mozzarella Tart.  Rock on.

Thanks to a lot of you guyses’ feedback, I know that two big factors let me down on my first home-made pastry attempt.  Firstly, I used gluten-free flour.  Secondly, the butter was melting by the time I was sifting it through the flour with my stubby grubby non-pastry proof fingers.  Plus, I was following a bizarre recipe which involved an egg.  No, no, no, Aoife Mc!  You’re doing it all wrong!

So Joc’s butter was super cold and instead of chopping the butter and then going at it in the flour with her hands straight away, she popped in the butter to the big bowl of flour and mixed it all together as much as possible with a knife.  When she had done as much as possible with the knife, she got stuck in with her hands, and almost instantly we got the breadcrumb affect.

jocs hands

Joc added in a few drips of very cold water (she had put a glass of water in the fridge about 20 minutes before) and then got it all into a wee ball, wrapped it in clingfilm and popped it in the fridge for about 25 minutes I think.  In the meantime, we had a cuppa tea, a few ciggies and a good auld chinwag about men.  This is, of course, an INTEGRAL part of the pastry process.

Once out of the fridge, the pastry was looking pretty good.  Joc doesn’t have a measuring scales yet in her new house so miraculously she had managed to put this ball of dough together by eye.  It was a bit sticky all right after adding the water but somehow she got it back from the brink of pastry limbo, just by letting it sit in the fridge and rolling it around in a little bit of flour afterwards.

flying pastry

She rolled it out and all of a sudden she has lovely soft velvety pastry.

pastry dough

We popped this into the quiche dish and gave it a bake in a hot oven (with the baking beans of course) for about 10 minutes.

We had already baked the aubergine and tomatoes for 20 minutes or so and all there was to it now was to arrange them in layers with ripped up basil.

layered tomatoes etc

The final layer was a mozzarella one and then we added the cream and egg mixture.  I say ‘we’ because, hello, I was documenting everything so, like, I did loads of work.

pastry with egg going in

And it was all starting to come together.  We popped it into the oven for about 40 minutes, then we took it out and let it sit for about 10.  Then we saw that actually it wasn’t ready, so we popped it back in for another 20 minutes, entertaining ourselves in the meantime by discussing the reproduction rituals of snails.  Honestly!  It started with French food, then to escargots, then to snails riding, and finally back to Kevin Bacon.  (Okay, we didn’t talk about Kevin Bacon but the rest is true).

small joc with piesmall pie

Isn’t she lovely?  And Joc ain’t half bad either, arf arf!

So, after the final stint in the oven, our pie was ready to eat.  It was delicious.  And the pastry was wonderful.  Go Joc!!

finished pie nomnom


Although we didn’t actually listen to any music while we were cooking, but we do both very much love Brooklyn based band School of Seven Bells.  This is one of our favourite songs from the band’s debut album Alpinisms. Buy it here!

School of Seven Bells – Prince of Peace – (Alpinisms)