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My Gran's Sour Cream Pastry

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“Four ingredients into a processor, some chilling time, and you have a top-notch pastry. I seldom buy puff pastry any more: this is halfway between puff and short pastry and it's a winner, for me. It's quickly made in the processor, and likes to be handled lightly and kept cold. One note of caution: it's meant for savory dishes. Personally I have never used it for tarts or desserts. Of course it could work, but it is not really meant for that. It is ideal as a crust on family-sized meat or chicken pies, or to use as a pastry for small pies meant for one person. It's one of my late, beloved Granny Grietjie's recipes. Handle it lightly, and it prefers being kept cool or cold until it goes into the oven. Please note, NO bad transfatty acids here. Honest fats, yes, and please do not use margarine! Roll it out fairly thinly (1/4 inch) and paint it with egg before baking, to get that golden colour. Don't leave out the salt: the pastry seems to benefit from having salt added.”
1 2/3 lbs

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Ladle the flour (no need to sift fresh flour), with the salt into a processor fitted with the steel blade.
  2. Cut the hard, cold butter into small chunks and add. Like puff pastry, this one also loves being kept cold, even chilly!
  3. Mix, first at low speed, then faster, until mixture forms very fine crumbs and looks almost like yellow cornmeal.
  4. In South Africa sour cream and crème fraiche come in 250 g containers, which is about 1 cup, so I don't even measure. I just scrape it into the processor. So if yours says "8 oz" it's near enough to 1 cup, so scrape that into the processor now.
  5. Blend -- speed not too high -- until a dough ball forms. You might have to scrape down the sides once.
  6. Should it happen (and it shouldn't really) that your dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. But don't add anything unless that ball refuses to form, which takes a couple of minutes.
  7. Normally it tends to be sticky when it's removed from the bowl and blades: scrape with a spatula (silicone works best) on to a floured board. As soon as you pat it into a ball with that little bit extra flour, it comes together and is perfectly easy to handle.
  8. Form into a flattish rectangular ball shape, handling it briefly and lightly.
  9. Wrap in plastic and chill in fridge, at least 30 minutes or otherwise overnight.
  10. **Crème fraiche is my choice these days. It is thick and slightly acidic. A closed container in the fridge lasts much longer than sour cream, and normally long past its use-by date! So it's worth trying to find it.
  11. When rolling out the pastry (flour the surface and the rolling pin) it is easiest to cut 1/3 or 1/2 off the ball of dough as it will have stiffened after chilling.
  12. Flatten it a little with the palms of your hands. Roll out thinly.
  13. Whatever you use it for, brush the raw pastry with beaten egg before baking. Also use beaten egg to patch pastry when needed.
  14. Always start this pastry at a high heat: I heat my fan/convection oven to 425 deg F/210 deg C, and keep it there for about 10 - 15 minutes to give the pastry time to puff up somewhat. Do keep an eye on it, as some convection ovens can be very hot and you want the pastry to rise, not burn.
  15. Then lower heat to medium, 350 deg F/180 deg C for the duration of the baking time.
  16. Try this pastry when making small individual meat or chicken pies -- delicious! Otherwise use for deep-dish pies.
  17. Don't try to bake blind, as it will slide down the sides of a pie plate. Use raw, and bake with the filling.
  18. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffy.

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