Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Finally! Not-Too-Crumbly Oil Crust

Apple-Custard Pie with Not-Too-Crumbly Oil Crust (tart shell)

(Jan. 24 2008 * Sorry, I made some corrections to this post today. )

As you may probably know, I’m looking for a daytime job now. Which means, I don’t work in the daytime (well, actually until 5 pm) these days, and that means I have plenty of free time in the mornings and afternoons. It is indeed relaxing, but somewhat depressing at the same time, because financial worries are always on the back of my mind. But when waiting for the results of the interviews, there is nothing I can do except going through the job offers on the weekly magazines and websites for second or third choices. And the rain discourages me from going out. Ahhhh….

But looks like I can’t stay melancholic for too long. When I’m job hunting like this, usually I start thinking, “Hey, this is a perfect opportunity for a culinary experiment!” sooner or later, and it happened this time, too. Anyone remembers that I was looking for a“not-too-crumbly” oil crust recipe for tarts? Well, this time, I’m proud that I made a good use of my free time. I experimented a bit, and finally came up with an oil pastry recipe that I like! :D

First, I really, really want to thank this Japanese lady who created this oil crust recipe. I tried out hers, and it worked! It’s a whole wheat tart shell, and the dough was not too hard to roll out if used parchment paper. The dough tore rather easily, but you can patch it easily with the excess from the edges, so it wasn’t a big problem. After coming out from the oven, the crust held up as you can see in the photo of her tart shell. And I loved the crunchiness from the whole wheat flour!

It was pretty close to my “dream pastry.” Almost. But I wanted it to be a little heavier (firmer?) and crunchier when I use it as a tart shell. So I modified the proportion of the flours, added almond powder and adjusted the amount of the oil and soy milk. I also added vanilla extract, and next time I might try almond extract.
So here is Obachan’s version of oil crust recipe, based on the great work by the creative and health-conscious Japanese lady I mentioned above.

Oil Crust obachan’s version (Based on a Japanese recipe on COOKPAD)
** This is more like a cookie tart shell, so I guess I shouldn't call it a pie crust.
65 g whole wheat flour
45 g bread flour
1+1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 Tbsp. almond powder
(2+1/2 Tbsp. Sugar for sweet tart shell, reduce it for savory tarts)
1/8 tsp. salt
50 mL vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 Tbsp. soy milk
vanilla extract

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl and stir well. Add vegetable oil. Stir and crumble well with fingers until thoroughly mixed. Mix vanilla extract into soy milk and then add to the mixture in the bowl. Mix with hands and “knead” in the bowl several times. (The mixture is crumbly so it would not be like kneading bread or biscuit dough, but I thought this process was necessary to develop gluten so that the baked crust will hold up.) Pat into a flat ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 C. Pat the dough into bottom and the sides of a pie/tart pan. (I don’t think you can roll out this dough successfully.) Poke holes in the bottom with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. (If you need to, remove the crust from the pan after completely cooled.)

I just placed apple slices over the custard cream I made with "instant custard cream mix"

The crust may not be impressively firm or crunchy when it is fresh from the oven. But it will improve as it cools, and will be (hopefully) much better after being baked again with a filling. As advised by the original recipe author, for extra crunchiness, it seems better to wait until the crust cools completely and hardens before pouring the filling into it.

What I want to improve next time is reducing the slight floury smell (from the whole wheat?). Maybe more vanilla extract or adding grated citrus rind or something?

Jan. 25 (Fri)

I had been looking for "affordable" small tart pans for quite a while, and finally(!!) I found some at my favorite wholesaler yesterday. What a great surprise! (I'm 100% sure that they didn't have any at the end of last year.) I bought 6 of them right then.

So today, I baked 6 small tart shells with the small pans. The bottom rose a little too much because I was too anxious and didn't care to poke many holes, but the texture was "two thumbs up" (for me, at least). And you know what the best part was? The tart shell came out from the pan so easily-- all I had to do was inverting it on my palm!

Oh, I'm so happy. There are so many pie, tart and quiche recipes I want to try. But if I bake one with my 18 cm tart pan, I have to eat the same thing for 2 to 3 days, because usually I'm the only one person who eats what I bake. But with these small pans, I can make only a couple of small tarts at a time. And it would be even healthier with my oil crust. This way I can make pies/tarts pretty often without worrying too much about my fat intake. YAY!! :D
(I know. It depends on what kind of filling I use, right?)

One question. Here some people say that it is (not really recommendable but) possible to freeze pre-baked tart shells. And I'm hoping it's true, because it would be really handy for me to bake many small tart shells at one time and use only a couple of them and freeze the rest. I like that idea better than thawing tart dough every time and baking only a couple of shells.
What do you think? Do pre-baked tart shells freeze well?



K and S said...

still looks really good!

Anonymous said...

Your website is truely inspiring thus I am leaving my words of support here. I tried the Ichigo Daifuku recipe today and it worked :D It brings a smile to my face jsut staring at the adorable daifuku(s for multiples?), except now I am going to have to work extra hard in the gym to burn off all that calories haha. (My american friends are not into bean desserts, unfortunately, so I'll have to eat the whole batch by myself). I look forward to trying more of your yummy recipes, and all the workout sessions I'll have to commit to now that I'm eating more haha.

Pinkity said...

Ganbatte obachan! Fingers crossed for your job search!!!


obachan said...

K & S

Oh, I truly appreciate your words of support. Thank you! :D
Yeah, your problem is exactly the same as mine. I live all by myself, so I have to eat up everything I make. Think about all that calories ! But you know what? Ichigo Daifuku is not too terrible -- it sure contains a lot of sugar, but no butter, no oil and no eggs. That's why they tend to say, "Wagashi is healthier than cakes/cookies" here in wagashi ads. I'm not sure if they are really right, so I try to work out anyway. Hahaha...

Thanks! I really need a good luck.

Hollywood Tai Tai said...

I really like apple pie and this is a twist on it. will definitely try it out soon. Thanks for sharing.

and good luck with the job hunting. Which weeklies or sites are you using?

obachan said...

Please give this a try and let me know what you think. IMHO, this is probably the best recipe on my blog.

The magazines I'm using are local ones, so I don't think you know them. The website is called "haro waaku (hello work) Internet service." Nice name, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yummy..!! Obachan..! and good luck with your job hunting..ya.. :)

obachan said...

Thank you, Mama bok. :)