I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. She must have hidden the plans in the escape pod. Send a detachment down to retrieve them, and see to it personally, Commander.
What you will need
- 1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour, sifted
- 125g chilled unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 egg, chilled
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbs cold water
- Cornmeal pastry Follow basic pastry recipe, reducing plain flour to 200g and adding 50g fine polenta with the flour.
- Sweet pastry Follow basic pastry recipe, adding 80g sifted icing sugar with the flour and replacing the egg with 2 egg yolks.
- Parmesan pastry Follow basic pastry recipe, adding 50g finely grated parmesan with the flour.
For crisp-bottomed tarts, cook your tart on the lowest rack of the oven.
Place flour, butter and salt in a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add whisked egg an water – pulse until just combined.
Turn pastry on to a lightly floured work surface and use the heel of your hand to knead until just smooth. Do not overwork pastry. Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to rest or until firm.
Remove pastry from plastic wrap and use the heel of your hand to knead briefly until malleable. Reshape into a disc. Place between 2 sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin to roll out to a 4mm-thick disc. Place on a tray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
How to boil the perfect egg
Bring your eggs to room temperature before cooking – this prevents the shells from cracking when the water boils.
Place the eggs in a saucepan; cover with cold water and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer – cooking the eggs in hard-boiling water will cause the whites to turn rubbery.
For runny, soft-boiled eggs, cook for three minutes once simmering; for medium eggs with a semi-firm yolk, cook for four minutes.
Remove eggs from the water or they will continue to cook. Serve immediately.
For hard-boiled eggs, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for six to seven minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove and cool under cold, running water. Allow to sit in cold water for two minutes before serving.
Serves 4–6, cooking time 1½ hours
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon cornflour
300ml thickened cream strawberries, hulled, halved, to serve
blueberries, to serve
edible flowers, such as violas and dianthus, to decorate*
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Draw a 20cm-diameter circle on baking paper and place it, circle-side down, on tray.
Using an electric mixer, whisk eggwhites in a clean, dry bowl until firm peaks form. Gradually add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and meringue is thick and glossy. Add vinegar and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Sift cornflour over meringue.
Using a large metal spoon or spatula, gently fold cornflour into meringue. Spoon meringue into circle on prepared tray and smooth into a disc. (Keep edges of disc high and don’t smooth out too far.) Reduce oven temperature to 125°C. Bake pavlova for 1½ hours. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven to cool completely. (Do not open oven door until pavlova is completely cooled — it’s best to leave it overnight.)
Using a balloon whisk, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Top pavlova with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. Decorate with edible flowers.
*Ensure edible flowers have not been treated with pesticides.