Yes, You Can Make Pastry. From Scratch. With Kids.
Do not fear short crust! A few simple tips (and a killer berry galette recipe) help every kid (and parent) master pastry.
Just a few short years ago, I was afraid of pastry. True story. I felt like I was better off buying it, because I could never get it right. I learned that in actual fact, it’s pretty simple to make your own short-crust pasty. It’s also the perfect recipe to make with kids. Pastry-making involves lot of learning moments, with consequences kids can see and taste.
Kids do love working with pastry. But they can sometimes be a little too enthusiastic. One trick I’ve found to monitor kids tasked to rub flour into butter by hand: do the “hands up” check every now and then. If only their fingertips are covered in flour and butter, they are doing it right. If their palms are coated as well, they’re squeezing the butter and flour, which will result in a tough pastry (remember, it might feel like Play Doh, but it’s not!). The hands-on method is a great way to keep kids actively focused on what they are doing.
That said, I do make this pastry in the food processor more often than not. It only takes a few pulses to cut the butter into the flour, then a few more to incorporate the wet ingredients. This is much more efficient, though much less fun for kids. If you want a flakier pastry, you’ll need large as well as small chunks of butter in your pastry, and that is much easier to control when you make it by hand.
Now that you’ve conquered your fear of pastry, how to make that perfect, elegant tart shell? Actually, no worries here at all—make galettes instead. These rustic, free-form pies were my introduction to the world of pastry and remain one of my favorite things to make. Their single crust and rough-hewn look is a bonus for all, big and small, who don’t feel confident working with pastry. Make one, and you’ll be hooked.
Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher to elementary school-aged boys and the author of eatlivetravelwrite.com, a blog focusing on culinary adventures near and far. She runs cooking classes for boys aged 7 to 14. Her first book, In the French Kitchen with Kids, was published in July, 2018. (Check out our review!) Read more at: www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/books
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