Pastry


Finland summary

I was looking back on my posts in May and realised just how many Finnish, or Finnish inspired, baked goods I made.  Perhaps (obviously?), my favourite would be the cardamom and coffee macarons.  Though give me anything sweet with cardamom and I am a happy girl.

My faithful baking companion, The Great Scandinavian Baking Bookby Beatrice Ojakangas, may be returned to the shelf for now but I am sure she will make an appearance again soon.

In the meantime, here is a quick re-cap of what I made last month during my Finnish baking adventures.  This list surely now includes some of my new favourites.

1. Cardamom macarons with coffee cream
2. Hannatädinkakut :: Aunt Hanna’s Cookies (p138)
3. Karjalanpiirakat:: Karelian Rice Pasties (p272)
4. Mustikkapiiraat :: Blueberry Filled Buns (p237)
5. Omenapiirakka :: Finnish Apple Pie (p240)
6. Pulla :: Finnish Cardamom Bread (p70)

Cherry Strudel single

I probably should not share this, but I often talk to myself.  It can happen anytime.  Anywhere.  Once, I was talking to myself while getting out of my car in the driveway, and my partner (inside the house!), thought someone was with me.  I am not sure why I talk to myself on occasion, but I am fairly certain it has been a regular part of my life.

Making the strudel for the Daring Bakers challenge this month was no exception.

I have been reading about a few cherry dishes at some of my favourite blogs recently.  Even though we are quite a few months off fresh cherries here in Australia, I was keen to incorporate cherry into my strudel.  So as a substitute, I bought some preserved sour cherries.  With a small additional of breadcrumbs and sugar, this turned out to be a perfect filling.

I was disappointed with my pastry effort.  I had quite a few holes as I worked the pastry and attempted to make it paper-thin.  The actually dough was quite easy to make so will try again at some point.  Despite the hiccups with the pastry, however, I was really happy with the challenge this month.  Strudel pastry is not something I had made before.

When the strudel was baked, I needed to take a few photos.  It was a little chilly outside and overcast.  It has been practically raining non-stop here in Brisbane.  So when picking a plate, I reached for black.  It seemed to match the drizzle outside.  The dark cherry looked nice against the colour, so off I went.  I took a few photos and checked in the viewfinder.  My ‘talking to myself’ habit then kicked in.  I giggled and then said to the strudel – yes, an inanimate object! – “You are such a moody strudel!”  Oh, I tried that in my best Austrian accent, too.

I continued to punctuate the conversation with my strudel with a few other snappy lines.  And not one to let a joke die its natural death, I call out to my partner to include him in the banter, and declared, “my strudel is moody, ja?”  He walked away grinning, shaking his head.

We have enjoyed our moody strudel the last few nights, slightly warmed with a tiny serve of vanilla ice cream.  I do enjoy fruit desserts so want to definitely try this pastry again.  And hopefully I have not disappointed my lovely friend M. in Austria.  Hopefully it would past the test?  I would send a test piece to you in Vienna if I could!

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Cherry Strudel

{ Apple strudel }
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

* Ingredients *

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

* Directions *
1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

{ Strudel dough }
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

* Ingredients *

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

* Directions *

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can. Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Karelian Rice Pasties

I was lucky to visit Finland last year for a holiday.  It is a magnificant part of the world.  It is outdoorsy, rugged, scenic.  It is a country of contrast.  Extreme bitter terrain in winter.  Lush, fertile surroundings in summer.  It is small but vast.  It is quiet but friendly and warm.  Interestingly, I used to say my partner was full of contradictions.  Being Finnish, I suppose it is an intrinsic trait?

The Finnish landscape and scenery is quite arresting.  We travelled from Helsinki to Turku one day and past some beautiful countryside.  The photos below were taken wandering around Naantali.  For me, the wide open lake and the rich blooms greatly encapsulate southern Finland in the summer time.

These little rice pasties actually remind me of Finland.  For me, the rustic, earthiness make them quintessentially Finnish.  The pasties were actually requested by my partner to include in my Finnish baking month adventures.  He remembers them fondly.  Surprisingly, I never saw them when I was in Finland last year, but they must be popular because Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella also made a mention of them to me.  I am disappointed I did not come across them in my travels.  Admittedly, I think I was preoccupied not only with cardamom flavoured bread and buns, and all the fresh salmon on offer.  (I seriously think I ate salmon for every single meal during my time there.  It was sublime.)

I flicked through my trusty Scandinavian Baking book by Beatrice Ojakangas to find the recipe for these little rice pasties.  If they were popular, there was no question I would find them there.

The pastry was quite easy to make.  It literally mixed together by hand in less than 5 minutes.  The filling is the most time consuming part taking an hour to slowly simmer.  But I hit a snag.  I presume the rice needed to disintegrate, hence the 1 hour simmering time, but I have a bit of a problem.  I cook with gas and even my lowest setting produces a level of bubbling that could not constitute anything close to a simmer.  Never mind, I thought, I will cook it as well as I can.

After some quick assembly, these little pasties were made and baked.  Beatrice suggests serving with boiled eggs, which I actually do remember accompanying quite an amount of food in Finland.

So the verdict from my partner?  One star out of three.  Apparently the pastry was spot on (tick!), but overlapped the filling too much – should have been narrower (cross!), and the filling needed to be more cooked (cross!).  But despite that, they were still quickly consumed.  So all good in my eyes!

 NaantaliNaantali, Finland

 

{ Karelian Rice Pasties } by Beatrice Ojakangas

* Ingredients *

Pastry:
1 cup water
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup rye flour
1 cup all purpose flour

Filling:
1 cup water
3 cups milk
¾ cup rice

Glaze:
1 cup milk, heated to boiling
¼ cup butter

* Directions *

Mix together the water, salt, rye flour and all purpose flour to make a smooth dough.  If necessary, add more water.  Shape the dough into a r0pe about the thickness of your wrist.  Cut into 16 equal portions.  Shape the pieces into flat round cakes and roll out to make a very thin circle about 6 to 8 inches / 15 to 20 cm in diameter.  Set aside.  To prepare the rice filling, combine the water, milk and rice in a heavy saucepan.  Simmer for 1 hour or until rice has absorbed all the liquid.  Taste and add salt and butter.  Cover baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them.  Preheat oven to 550F or 290C.  Fill the centre of each circle with the cooked rice and fold over about ¾ inches or 2cm of the edges, pinching to crimp the edges, and shape an oval or round pie.  Place pies on prepared baking sheets.  Mix the boiling milk and butter to make a glaze.  Brush the pieces with the mixture.  Bake for 7 to 10 minutes.  Brush again with the butter-milk mixture.  Baked until tinged with gold.  Remove from the oven and brush again with the butter-milk mixture.  Serve cooled.  Pasties will soften as they cool.

Apple Pie

A while ago I saw the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic.  I apologise to all the people around me at the cinema when I constantly burst into laughter at the Finnish references.  As my partner is half Finnish, I seemed to find it all quite amusing for some reason.  The central character of the movie is asked why she uses Finland for all her excuses?  She replies, “because no one ever checks up on Finland”.

Comedic opportunities aside, I found that reference interesting.  As I have been fortunate to visit this beautiful part of the world, I suppose in a way Finland is one of the best kept secrets around.  (See some pictures from Suomenlinna Island below!)

And because I am inherently interested in baking, perhaps it would follow that Finnish baked goods are also some of the best kept secrets around?  Given that, this month I will endeavour to investigate traditional Finnish baked goods.

I recently baked Pulla.  Next up?  Omenapiirakka … or Finnish apple pie.  We are right in the middle of prime apple picking season so a perfect time for this pie.

I must say up front, you need to try this pie.  The best part for me was how easy the pastry was to make.  And even better than that, how delicious it was.  I actually made the pastry a day ahead and was able to quickly roll out, top with apple and then bake in less than 45 minutes.

To keep it simple, I served with a light dusting of icing sugar and some rich vanilla ice cream to complement the gooey caramelised apple centre of the pie. 

I asked my partner if he had eaten Omenapiirakka when living in Finland.  He had not.  But he swiftly gave me a list of things he remembered from Finland as well as his mummo’s – grandmother’s – baking.  (Kiitoksia kauhean paljon!)

Okay, pressure on now.

{ Omenapiirakka } by Beatrice Ojakangas
Finnish apple pie with cream crust

* Ingredients *

Pastry:
2 ¼ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream

Filling:
4 tart apples, pared, cored and sliced
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

* Directions *

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the cream and mix to make a soft dough. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F or 220C.  Grease and dust a baking sheet lightly with flour.  Turn dough out onto the centre of the sheet and roll out to make a 12 inch / 30 cm square.

Combine the apples, sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.  Arrange the apples in rows over the crust, leaving about 1 ½ inches or 4 cm empty at the edges.  Turn edges up over the filling and seal the corners.  Beat egg with milk to make a glaze and brush edge.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden.

Island

 Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Heksinki

croissants21

When I think of word association, I am pretty confident if someone flashed the word croissant to me, I would associate it immediately with the word France.  Pretty obvious perhaps, but when you think about it, that is a strong connection.

Well, it is for me because the croissant epitomises French pastries.  It is rich, it is light, it is multi layered, it is complex, yet so seemingly simple.

I have always wanted to tackle making croissants.  I have been deterred mostly due to the length of time they take to prepare.  It is not hard work necessarily (though it is more tricky than your average bread loaf!), but not so completely complicated that it is out of the realm of any enthusiastic amateur baker (e.g. me).

I do have a hidden agenda for perfecting the croissant, I must confess.  Recently, Christmases for me have included a new breakfast experience with my partner’s family … the bacon and egg croissant, cooked on the BBQ in true ‘Aussie’ style.  This year I would like to contribute homemade croissants for the breakfast.  There are a few months yet to practice, but no time like the present (with bread month!) to start.

I have also been inspired by Elra at Elra’s Baking, with her first and successful croissant this month.  She made it seem so easy that I knew I had to try, too!

I thumbed through a few croissant references I had on hand.  Sherry Yard, Roux Brothers, Martha Stewart, Julia Child.  I settled on Julia as I have not tried her yeasted recipes before.  Also, I know how tirelessly she worked to perfect her recipes that I assumed I must be in with a shot of success, too. 

So after practically double digit pages of instructions and two days later, I finally offer up homemade, freshly baked croissants.

Overall, I am happy they resulted in something resembling croissants, but they are less than perfect.  I fear I did not let the shaped croissants proof long enough prior to baking.  At that stage (end of day two), I was getting a little too impatient, I think.

I will definitely try these again with the same recipe.  Speaking of, details coming soon – right now I am short on time.

Profiteroles3

In honour of French patisserie treats, I have short-listed a few items to bake this month.  First up were madeleines.  Next challenge, profiteroles.

I am fascinated by choux pastry (pâte à choux).  This multipurpose pastry can be used to create cream puffs, profiteroles, and éclairs.  I recently attended a class at Black Pearl Epicure and the lovely Kristie Rickman, head pastry chef at E’cco, demonstrated a few pastry essentials.  Choux pastry was on her list and she created a number of mouth-watering cream puffs.  Inspired by Kristie, I decided to recreate the golden puffy delights at home.

As my deliciously light madeleines turned out perfectly, I thought I would continue with Sherry Yard as recipe guide for the choux pastry.  Kristie shared a sensational chocolate custard recipe, so there was no question what to use for filling.

There are a few steps to this recipe, but all are very simple.  The end result is worth the effort!  In fact, I was given some feedback on these little chocolately puffs of goodness.  They were apparently absolutely delicious … but just way too small!  So next time I make pâte à choux, I need to upgrade to éclairs!

{ Pâte à choux } adapted from Sherry Yard

Makes about 18 medium sized puffs

* Ingredients *

¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
45g butter, at room temperature, cubed
½ cup plain flour, sifted
2-3 eggs, at room temperature

* Directions *

Place water, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until butter melts and mixture just comes to the boil.
Add all the flour to the butter mixture at once and use a wooden spoon to beat until well combined. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for at least 4 minutes or until the mixture forms a mashed potato like appearance.  Remove from the heat.
Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed for a few minutes to cool the mixture down.  Then start to add the egg one by one.  Make sure the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.  Before you add your last egg, check for consistency.  (See notes.)  Once done, the dough should be shiny and smooth.  At this stage you can fill a piping bag with the choux paste and use straight away or freeze for later.  (See notes.)

puff-ballstopsbottomsPreheat oven to 220 C or 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat.  Pipe the profiteroles onto the baking tray. For medium sized puffs, pipe about 3-4 cm in size (1 ½ inches).  Brush the tops with a little egg mixture. Bake for 10 minutes, or until puffs begin to rise.  Turn the temperature down to 180 C or 350 F.  Carefully prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and bake for another 15 minutes.

When the puffs cool, cut the top half off each one with a serrated knife.  Set the tops over a cooling rack.  Drizzle ganache over each puff top (you can use any recipe you like for the ganache).  Place the puff tops in the ridge to set, about 15-20 minutes.

Fill the puffs with a filling of your choice.  Use the Chocolate Custard recipe below or choose plain whipped cream or vanilla custard.

Then replace the tops to finish off your lovely puff!  If you are greedy like me, try to eat these cream filled sensations in one single bite.  All the flavours complement well.  If you can somehow resist not popping the whole thing in your mouth in one go, they still taste pretty good, too! 

{ Chocolate custard } adapted from Kristie Rickman

Sufficient to fill 18 medium sized puffs

* Ingredients *

3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
25g plain flour
250ml milk
50g good-quality chocolate
100ml cream, softly whipped

* Directions *

Lightly whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
In a saucepan, slowly boil the milk.  Once the milk has reached a boil ladle about ¼ cup into the egg mixture and whisk well.  Then transfer the egg mixture into the rest of the milk and cook slowly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Add the chocolate, stirring until to melt through.
Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the top to prevent a skin forming. Cool to room temperature. Once ready to use, stir in the cream.  Transfer to a piping bag to pipe mixture into the prepared puffs.

{ A few tips … }

1.  You can freeze the pastry before you pipe into puffs.  Transfer the mixture once cooled to a piping bag, seal and then freeze for up to 2 weeks.  I made my pastry a week ago, popped it in the freezer, then let it defrost for about an hour before piping.
2.  The work of adding the eggs is made much easier using a stand mixer.  But you can complete this step by hand if necessary.
3.  The number of eggs given is a bit of a guide.  When you have added the second last egg, check the consistency.  The pastry should be more firm than runny.  If it is a little runny, add the last egg.  Sherry’s tip is to pinch off about 1 teaspoon of the dough with your thumb and index finger, then pull your fingers apart.  The dough should stretch rather than break.  If it breaks, add the last egg.
4.  Steam helps these little puffballs rise.  Sherry recommends putting a cup of hot water into a baking dish at the bottom of the oven when you put your puffs in to bake.
5.  When I cut the tops off my puffs, I set out the bottom half in the same order as the tops on a separate baking tray.  That way I could match the correct top and bottom together easily when it came to assembly time!
6.  Filled puffs only last a couple of hours in the fridge – but probably not a problem if your household has a sweet tooth like mine!

So for my short-list of French-style patisserie treats this month, I have one challenge to go.  Next week I will be tackling croissants.  Souhaitez-moi bonne chance!

rugelachI vividly remember the first time I tasted Rugelach.  It was about 10 years ago in Boca Raton, Florida.  Why do I recall this memory so clearly?  Because I was entranced by the charming croissant-like shaped pastry that was overflowing in flavours and textures.  It was sweet, it was caramely, it was crunchy, it was soft.  It was delicious.

I have since sampled a number of store-bought Rugelach – most recently a cinnamony flavoured version from Zabar’s in NYC.  I thought it was high time I made this mouth-watering treat myself.

The holiday seemed a perfect occasion to bake this cream cheese pastry yum yum.  I know Rugelach is a Jewish cookie, and not exactly ‘kosher’ for Christmas, but it seems so cheerful I could not resist including it in my Christmas baking selection.

To maintain as much authenticity to the Jewish recipe as possible, however, I consulted the much-loved version by Dorie Greenspan.  This recipe was passed to Dorie by her mother-in-law and has been successfully reproduced many times.

I love a good pastry and have considerable fondness for all the filling ingredients Dorie recommends … walnuts, currants, chocolate chips, fruit jam.  There was no need for any substitutions or omissions of the flavours on my part!

I made the recipe exactly per Dorie’s suggestion.  It was incredibly easy to make.  The cream cheese pastry came together like a dream.  The assembly and construction was very quick, too.  I baked my batch of Rugelach for 25 minutes and they were perfect – golden and gorgeous.

I greedily devoured these treats straight out of the oven.  I also, “for research purposes”, needed to taste test the impact of cooling … multiple times!  They were truly addictive.

Rugelach may never match the mystère of the French Macaron made famous by Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, but I maintain they are equally delicious.  I promise you will enjoy them, too.

{ A few tips … }

1. If you use regular sized chocolate chips, consider grounding them to make them smaller.  This will reduce the chance of ‘filling slippage’ outside of the cookie when rolled.
2. Even though the dough is incredibly simple to make, do resist over handling.
3. It is important to use good quality jam.  I always use St Dalfour in baking which has no added sugar.  This ensures that the sweetness of the jam is not overpowering and only imparts a fruit flavour.

mince-piesThe only request for baked goods I received this Christmas was from my lovely (and very English!) mother.  It was, of course, for mince pies.  I wanted to find a recipe that produced a melt-in-my-mouth result with the inclusion of shortening – shortening really does yield a lighter-textured result.

I found a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook.  In fact there were three options. I went with the ‘star topped’ version to use the same star cutter as my Linzer cookies.

It was all quite a quick process.  Given the time needed to typically handle pastry, it all came together quite speedily (which is helpful particularly in a sub-tropical climate!).  The resulting mince pies were received very well, with literally a dozen disappearing off the plate on Christmas day in less than 5 minutes.  I think that is a good sign!

If you like mince pies, you will like the lightness and sweetness of this recipe.

{ Star Topped Mince Pies } recipe by Nigella Lawson

Makes 2 dozen finished pies

* Ingredients *
1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
45g vegetable shortening
45g cold unsalted butter
Juice of 1 small orange
½ cup mincemeat
1 egg mixed with water for glaze
Icing sugar for dusting

* Directions *
Measure the flour out into a shallow bowl or dish, and using a teaspoon, dollop in little mounds of shortening, add the butter, diced small, combine with your hands and put in the freezer for 20 minutes.  Measure out the orange juice and put in the refrigerator.
Empty out the flour and fat into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until you have a pale pile of oatmeal-like crumbs.  Add the juice down the funnel, pulsing till it looks as if the dough is about to cohere; you want to stop just before it does (even if some orange juice is left).  If all your juice is used up and you need more liquid, add some iced water.  Turn out of the processor and, in your hands, combine to a dough.  Then form into two discs.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to rest for 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425 F or 220 C. 
Roll out the discs one at a time as thinly as you can without exaggerating.  Out of each rolled out disc cut out circles.  Press these circles gently into the moulds and dollop in a scant teaspoon of mincemeat.  Then cut out your stars and place them lightly on top of the mincemeat.  Re-roll pastry as required.
Glaze the pies before putting in the oven (I skipped this step as I wanted a lighter finish).  Bake pies for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Easy.  Delicious.

{ A few tips … }

1. If you do not own tart pans, substitute patty case or muffin tins.  Simply cut out a circle of pastry slightly larger than the tin whole and carefully insert.
2. Use a fluted cutter for festive edging.
3. You can use all butter if you do not wish to use vegetable shortening.  Your pastry will be slightly heavier and denser.

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