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How to stop pastry cracking and what to do if it does

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It happens to the best of us, but don’t worry. Here’s how to fix it. + VIDEO and More top tips on working with pastry.

– When your pastry cracks, pinch it together gently where it has come apart to mend it, trying not to stretch the dough. If the crack is too large or if you are going to stretch the pastry to mend it, take another piece of pastry that is large enough to cover it, place it on top of the gap and press or roll it into place. You can also nudge it into position with a small ball of pastry.

– If the pastry is to be rolled into a large circle or square to fill a baking tin, lift it off the board with the rolling pin: it helps to stop it cracking and keeps it cool – the more you handle pastry, the warmer it becomes. It also stops you inadvertently stretching the pastry.

More top tips for handling pastry

– Keep everything cold when you are making pastry: from the butter to your hands (rinse them under a running tap to cool them down and dry thoroughly).

– You’ll need water to make the pastry and it needs to be very cold. Place a cup of water in the fridge or freezer to cool down half an hour before you start. If you forget, run the cold tap for a few minutes so the water you use is as cold as can be.

– Rest the pastry in the fridge wrapped in clingfilm or in a plastic bag for at least 30 minutes to chill and to allow the gluten to relax. Take it out about 15 minutes before you shape it or you will find it difficult to roll.

– Use an egg wash to give pastry a shiny golden glaze: either use a whole egg or an egg yolk mixed with a little cold water. You can use milk or cream instead of an egg.

 

VIDEO: Pastry chef Emily Luchetti has a nifty trick for filling cracks in a pie crust – he makes a paste of flour and water and pastes it over the cracks: thanks to Saveur magazine for the video.

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