Pastry Hand Tarts (gluten free and vegan)
Making pastry dough can be daunting even with regular flour. With less pre-packaged options available for gluten free and vegan pastry dough, you will probably attempt making it at some point.
There is a reason that flaky pastry is also called rough pastry. Perfection is not required and in the context of gf/vegan baking that is a great advantage (also because there is no gluten you cannot overwork the dough). If you decide to attempt this recipe keep that fact in mind, don't stress, lumpy, messy, imperfect is just fine. A piece of the dough breaks off while shaping the tart, no problem there, perform surgery and simply tack that piece back on.
Your #1 goal is to maintain chunks of fat in between the flour, do that and you will be rewarded with flaky, buttery, light, delicious and crave worthy eat only in moderation pastry!
P.S. You can use this same dough to make a pie or a galette
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp baking powder*
1/3 cup unsalted vegan butter (very cold and cut into cubes)**
1/8 cup ice cold water
Potato starch for rolling out the dough
*flaky pastry is not normally made with baking powder. I made an exception here
**I use a vegan baker's pastry margarine. The recipe will work with ordinary butter
Jam tart or whatever you wish, sweet or savoury, something that will not spring a lot of moisture
Mix together the dry ingredients until properly combined
Add in roughly 2/3 of the cold butter/margarine, you want to leave some for the next stage. With a fork or pastry blender, work in the butter/margarine until the mixture forms large crumbly pieces of dough, not pea sized pieces. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and press the pieces of dough together to form a crude ball. The dough should be moist, but not wet and it will not be smooth.
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more
Remove the dough from the fridge. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, place the unused portion back into the refrigerator. Put the dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper or silpat mat and press with the palm of your hand to flatten. Lightly dust the top of the flattened dough and using a rolling pin begin to roll out the dough from you with light even pressure. You can also roll between 2 pieces of cling wrap. Lift and turn the dough a few times to ensure that it does not stick to the parchment paper. The dough does not have to be perfect it is best to leave some of the butter/margarine in big pieces
Using some of the reserved butter/margarine, scatter small pieces of it on the dough. Fold the dough unto itself to form a small square. Do not worry if the dough does not hold tightly together, a crude square is sufficient. It is more important not to flatten out the butter/margarine to the point where it is fully mixed into the dough. You can roll the dough out once more and repeat the folding process. Once you are finished with both pieces of dough refrigerate again for 30 minutes or more
Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out to about 1/8” thickness. Lightly dust the workspace frequently to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface. Again the dough does not have to be perfect, you can patch up torn areas with a little water and small pieces of dough. Once you get the desired thickness cut circles out of the rolled dough (I used a 2½” round cookie cutter). Place the jam filling in the center of one circle. Moisten the edges with a little bit of water and place another circular piece of dough over the first. Press the edges together to seal the tart. Try to do this step with dry hands, the dough can tear easily if your fingers are wet. Carefully place the pastry unto your prepared tray. Repeat the steps until all of the dough has been used
The most important thing when making the tart is to ensure that the butter/margarine stays fairly firm and scattered throughout the dough. The best way to do that is by keeping the dough and therefore the butter cold as you work. If your kitchen is warm, like mine always is, or for whatever reason the butter gets too soft, work with smaller pieces of dough. You can also place assembled tarts in the refrigerator while you continue to work. Do not let the butter soften completely regardless of what stage you are at! Remember that a smooth dough is not the goal at all. That process may add a few more minutes to your routine but in the end you will have a much flakier pastry
When you are done, refrigerate again for another 15 – 20 minutes. In the meantime preheat the oven to 400F
When ready, remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Brush the top with vegetable oil, I use coconut, or brush with the margarine. Make evenly spaced diagonal slits along the top of the pastry
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops of the pastry turns slightly brown. Brush again with the oil or margarine, turn the oven to 450F, place the tray back in the oven and let the pastry brown again to a deeper colour, 2-3 minutes
Remove form the oven let the pastry cool to your liking. Serve and enjoy. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for a few days or freezer for an extended period of time