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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.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Recipe_Page_2

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

The Little Sous Kitchen Academy box helps kids become creative, confident cooks. Check out our subscription options!

Mixed Berry Galettes

These rustic, single-crust pies make pastry approachable and fun.

Excerpted from In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2018 Mardi Michels. Photography © Kyla Zanardi. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Mixed Berry Galettes

Ingredients:

For the pastry
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the filling
  • 2 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries work well)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest from 1 small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
To assemble
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
  • Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

Steps:

  1. Step 1

    Start with the pastry:

    Whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter. Using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large breadcrumbs, with some pieces the size of small peas. (You can also use the pastry blender for this job.)

    Sous Tip:

    If young hands are tasked with rubbing the butter into the flour, remember the “hands up” check: if only kids’ fingertips are covered with dough, they’re doing it right. If their whole palms are covered, they are overworking the dough.

  2. Step 2

    Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg into the flour until completely combined.

  3. Step 3

    Add the cream. Mix until the dough is firm enough to form a ball when you press the mixture together with your fingers. (It might be a little crumbly.) Form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

  4. Step 4

    Make the galettes:

    Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and zest in a small bowl. Stir to coat the berries thoroughly and set aside.

  5. Step 5

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

  6. Step 6

    Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Divide it into eight pieces of equal size, and roll each piece out to a rough circle, about 6 inches in diameter. If necessary, trim the rolled-out circles with a pizza cutter so they are round, more or less. Place the circles of dough on the parchment-lined baking trays. They should not touch!

  7. Step 7

    Use a ¼-cup measure to divide the berry mixture evenly between the dough circles. Place the berries in the center of the dough, and use the bottom of the measuring cup to flatten them slightly. Leave a border of about 1 ½ inches around each circle’s edge.

  8. Step 8

    Working with one circle at a time, fold the uncovered edges of dough up and around the filling, working your way around the circle. You’ll end up with pleated edges that are slightly rough. You might need to trim away some uneven parts to prevent thick areas that are only crust.

  9. Step 9

    Brush the edges of each galette with a little egg wash. Sprinkle the pastry with sugar.

    Sous Tip:

    Good steps for kids to execute!

  10. Step 10

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and berries are cooked. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or Chantilly cream.