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Baking of any kind is soothing and rewarding but savoury dishes bring a particular practical advantage, says chef Michael James. Pies, quiches and sausage rolls: they nourish us day-to-day, suit almost any occasion and make the most of seasonal vegetables.

“We are craving comfort and sustenance in an increasingly uncertain world, and savoury baking provides both of those,” James writes in his new cookbook All Day Baking, which he has published with his wife, Pippa. 

Together, the couple ran Tivoli Road Bakery in South Yarra for six years, gaining a cult-like following for their organic sourdough bread, Cornish pasties and doughnuts.

Michael and Pippa James’ new cookbook. Photo: Lisa Cohen/Hardie Grant


From choosing the right dough to brushing on egg wash, their recipes show home cooks how to master baking delicious, wholesome meals from scratch by explaining every step.

“In the kitchen, once you’ve mastered one technique, you can adapt it to create new and unique dishes using what you have to hand.” 

Bacon and onion quiche

This is my version of a quiche Lorraine, the classic French savoury tart. A great quiche relies on good ingredients and knowing and trusting your oven. The result is satisfying, versatile and easily transportable, and it is well worth the effort learning to perfect this bake.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ quantity flaky shortcrust pastry (see recipe)
  • granulated sugar or baking weights, for blind baking
  • 250g (5 medium) eggs
  • 250g cream
  • 250g full-cream milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 130g gruyere, grated
  • 180g streaky bacon
  • 100g caramelised onions (see recipe)

METHOD

  1. Lightly grease a 23cm round, 3.5cm deep tart tin with a little butter. Put the pastry on a lightly floured kitchen bench and roll it out into a large disc 3-4mm thick. Gently lay the pastry over the tin, then use your thumb to press the pastry firmly into the base. Trim off the excess pastry with a knife, leaving a little overhanging the edge to allow for shrinkage. Transfer to the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). Line the rested pastry case with aluminium foil and fill with granulated sugar until heaped. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional), remove the foil and sugar and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until golden. If you find the middle puffs up, prick the pastry a few times with a fork.
  3. To prepare the custard, whisk together the eggs, cream and milk in a large bowl. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and whisk them through. Add the cheese and stir to evenly distribute it.
  4. To bake the quiche, preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). Meanwhile, heat a frypan over a medium heat and fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and cool, then roughly chop.
  5. Spread a thin layer of caramelised onion over the base of the tart shell. Evenly distribute the bacon pieces over the top.
  6. Give the custard a stir to evenly disperse the ingredients, then transfer it to a jug to make filling the quiche easier. Slide out your oven shelf, place the tin on the shelf, then pour the custard into the shell, being careful not to overfill it. Alternatively, fill it on the bench and carefully transfer to the oven.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). Bake for a further 30-35 minutes, turning the tin halfway through, until the centre of the quiche feels firm but still has a slight wobble. It should be firm rather than runny, but only just cooked. Transfer to a wire rack and cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes to let the custard set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Serves 8-10

TIP: I like to make and blind bake the shell in advance. Once you’ve lined the tin with pastry, chill it in the fridge before baking to produce a flakier crust. I blind bake with aluminium foil for good heat distribution and so you get right into the corners, and I like to use sugar rather than baking weights because it’s cheap and provides an even weight as the pastry bakes. Once baked, the shell will keep for up to four days at room temperature in an airtight container.

Extract from All Day Baking by Michael and Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45.00. Photographer by Lisa Cohen. 
Tomato and anchovy galette
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This simple, moreish galette is bursting with flavour. Photo: Lisa Cohen/Hardie Grant

Tomato and anchovy spelt galettes

Based on the Mediterranean classic, pissaladiere, these simple, moreish galettes are bursting with flavour. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, so it’s a great weekend lunch or weeknight hero, but my favourite time and place to eat this is during a picnic on a warm summer’s day, sitting under a tree. I’ve used cherry tomatoes here, but you can use larger tomatoes if you prefer – just make sure they’re at their peak of seasonal juicy sweetness.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 quantity wholemeal spelt flaky shortcrust pastry (see recipe)
  • 300g caramelised onions (see recipe)
  • 30g anchovy fillets
  • 120g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 60g olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 tbsp oregano or thyme leaves
  • egg wash (see recipe)
  • 60g parmesan (optional)
  • herbs, to garnish (optional)

METHOD

  1. Put the pastry on a lightly floured kitchen bench and divide it into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a disc 3mm thick and 16cm in diameter and lightly score a circle 2cm in from the edge. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until you’re ready to make the galettes.
  2. Remove the pastry discs from the fridge and place them on sheets of baking paper. Spoon about 50g of caramelised onion onto each galette base and spread it out to meet the 2cm margin. Divide the anchovy fillets between the galettes, then top with the tomatoes, olives and herbs. Fold the margin of pastry in towards the centre, over the edge of the filling, then crimp the pastry edges together to contain the filling. Lightly brush the exposed pastry border with egg wash.
  3. Return the galettes to the fridge while you preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional) . To get the bottom of the pastries nicely browned and cooked through, put two baking trays in the oven to heat up, or use a pizza stone if you have one.
  4. Slide the galettes on the baking paper onto the hot trays. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180C and turn and swap the trays. Bake for a further 18-20 minutes until the pastry edges are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, then use a vegetable peeler to shave a little parmesan over each galette, if using, and garnish with herbs if desired. Serve with a leafy salad.

Makes 6

Extract from All Day Baking by Michael and Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45.00. Photographer by Lisa Cohen. 
Ratatouille and bocconcini pie
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Mix up the colours and eat the rainbow. Photo: Lisa Cohen/Hardie Grant

Ratatouille and bocconcini pie

This is my take on ratatouille, the classic French Provencal vegetable dish originally from Nice. It features a wonderful variety of vegetables, plus I’ve added bocconcini to marry it all together. The great thing about this pie is its versatility: use mozzarella instead of bocconcini, take out or add any vegetable you prefer, stick with just one colour of capsicum or mix up the colours and eat the rainbow. You just need to ensure that your total vegetable weight is similar to the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g eggplant
  • 400g zucchini
  • 800g capsicums
  • 2 large onions
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 100-150g olive oil
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 × 400g tin whole tomatoes or 6 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 20g (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tsp fine salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 40g (1 small bunch) basil, leaves picked and torn
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • pastry of choice (photo shows savoury shortcrust pastry for the base and plain puff for the top) 
  • 8 bocconcini, cut in half
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for sprinkling

METHOD

  1. Start by prepping all your vegetables so that the cooking process flows nicely. Trim and chop the eggplant, zucchini and capsicums into 2-3cm pieces, discarding the membranes and seeds from the capsicums. Peel and slice the onions. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.
  2. Heat 20g (1 tablespoon) of the olive oil in a large frypan over a medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant, zucchini and capsicum for 4-5 minutes, adding more oil as required. Stop cooking before the vegetables get soft; you just want a bit of colour at this stage. Transfer each batch of vegetables into a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with 20g (1 tablespoon) olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring, for 10-12 minutes until starting to soften and caramelise. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, then stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add all the fried vegetables, then reduce the heat to low and cook just under a simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and everything comes together. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, basil and thyme. Once it’s cooled a little, check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. To assemble and bake your pies, follow the instructions below. If making one pie, scatter the bocconcini halves over the ratatouille filling before adding the pastry lid. If making individual pies, use two bocconcini halves for each pie. I like to sprinkle pepitas over the pastry top before baking. Serve with a leafy salad.

Serves 8

TIP: 

For family-sized pies, put the braise into a deep pie dish and top with flaky shortcrust pastry. As a guide, use a half quantity of pastry to serve up to four people or a full quantity to serve up to eight. To assemble your family pie, roll the pastry 3mm thick and cut a large circle 3cm wider in diameter than your pie dish. Place your cooled braise into the pie dish, then grease the rim with butter or oil. Lay the pastry over the top, then use your fingers to pinch around the edge. Brush the entire surface with egg wash and poke a hole in the middle to allow steam to release during baking. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set the pastry while you preheat the oven for the bake. 

For individual pies, I like to use different pastries for the top and bottom. My preference for the base is savoury shortcrust pastry. A half quantity will make up to five pies and a full quantity will make six to 10. For the top, I like puff pastry. Again, a half quantity will make up to five pies and a full quantity will make six to 10. Roll out the base pastry 3mm thick and cut out circles 2cm wider in diameter than the top of your individual pie dishes to help attach and seal the pastry lid. Cover the pastry and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble. Roll out the top pastry 3-4mm thick and cut out shapes the same size as your pie dishes. Cover and refrigerate. Once I have the pastry rolled and cut, I like to assemble a batch of pies in a production line – do each step to every pie before moving on to the next. First grease the tins with a little butter. Place a disc of the base pastry into each tin and press it well into the corners of the base, working around it with your fingertips. Trim off any excess pastry. Divide the cooled braise evenly between your dishes. Brush a little egg wash around the exposed rim of the pastry, then place the pastry lid on top and use the heel of your hand to gently push out any excess air. Pinch the edges together with your thumb and forefinger to seal the pie. Brush the tops with egg wash and poke a hole in the middle to allow steam to release during the bake. Put the pies in the fridge for 30 minutes to set the pastry while you preheat the oven for the bake. 

To bake your pies, preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). For small pies, bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Bake for a further 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through for an even bake. For large pies, bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Bake for a further 35-40 minutes, turning halfway through for an even bake. Always rest your pies for 10 minutes before eating.

Extract from All Day Baking by Michael and Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45.00. Photographer by Lisa Cohen. 
Steak and stilton pasties
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The blue cheese and steak are perfectly balanced to make you savour every bite. Photo: Lisa Cohen/Hardie Grant

Steak and stilton pasties

I don’t usually diverge from a traditional Cornish pasty. The subject of variations in pasty fillings is a tricky one for a Cornish person, as we are a patriotic lot. But I’ve asked around and found a few who will admit that a steak and stilton pasty is acceptable. And, when pushed, they even agreed that it’s delicious. This combination works so well; the blue cheese and steak are perfectly balanced to make you savour every bite. If you’re proper Cornish, use a good Cornish blue cheese, but other cheeses will work too – a nice bitey cheddar or even parmesan will taste great.

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g onions
  • 280g old floury potatoes, such as desiree, sebago, maris piper or king edwards
  • 280g leeks, white and green parts
  • 800g skirt or chuck steak
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 quantity lard shortcrust pastry (see recipe)
  • 18g (3 tsp) fine salt
  • 6g (2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
  • 320g stilton or other blue cheese
  • egg wash (see recipe)

METHOD

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Scrub and roughly chop the potatoes. Cut the leek into 1cm slices. Don’t worry about perfectly diced veg here – the housewives of Cornwall never did. Cut the beef into 1cm dice.
  2. Combine the vegetables, beef and thyme in a large bowl. Don’t season the mix until you are about to assemble the pasties. This is to avoid the salt drawing water out of the ingredients and creating a wet mess – you want that moisture to come out during the baking, to create gravy inside the pasty.
  3. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Put the pastry on a lightly floured kitchen bench and cut it into eight equal pieces, about 160g each. Roll each piece into a disc 20-22cm in diameter and 4mm thick – don’t worry about getting perfect circles.
  4. Add the salt and pepper to the beef mixture and mix thoroughly. Divide the filling between the pasty rounds – roughly 200g of filling for each – placing it on the top half of each pastry disc, leaving a 2cm border around the top edge for crimping. Crumble 40g of the blue cheese over the filling.
  5. Lightly brush the pastry border at the top with egg wash, then fold the bottom half of the pastry over the filling so that it meets the pastry on the other side. Push out any air pockets and cup your hands over the top to bring it all together tightly. Crimp the edges together with your thumb and forefinger to form a rope-like seam along the side of the pasty. Patch any holes with a little dampened rolled-out pastry. As you finish each pasty, place it on the lined trays, leaving a 5cm gap between them so they bake evenly. Lightly brush the top of the pasties with egg wash, then cut a slit in the tops to allow the steam to vent while baking. Put in the fridge to cool, or freeze some to bake another day.
  6. To bake the pasties, preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). Bake for a further 50 minutes, turning and swapping the trays halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. The filling will be very hot, so let them rest for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Makes 8

Extract from All Day Baking by Michael and Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45.00. Photographer by Lisa Cohen. 
Quinoa and sweet potato sausage rolls
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Filled with good-for-you vegies, pulses, grains and seeds. Photo: Lisa Cohen/Hardie Grant

Quinoa and sweet potato sausage rolls

These sausage rolls, filled with lots of good-for-you vegies, pulses, grains and seeds, are great for children who aren’t so fond of their vegies. And it’s a great recipe for getting them involved, too – picking the herbs, peeling the carrot and sweet potato, or brushing the egg wash over the pastry.

INGREDIENTS

  • 80g quinoa
  • 180g Puy lentils
  • 60g olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet potato (about 250g), finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 140g parmesan, coarsely grated
  • 80g coarse dry breadcrumbs
  • 20g chopped coriander leaves
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • 40g (2 tbsp) tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tsp fine salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 quantity puff pastry (see recipe)
  • egg wash (see recipe) 
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

METHOD

  1. Cook the quinoa and lentils (you can do this ahead of time). Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover generously with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-18 minutes until tender. Rinse the quinoa in cold water, then put it in a small saucepan with 160g water. Bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and reduce the heat to low for 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frypan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato, celery and garlic. Cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the ground cumin and cinnamon for the last minute or so, to bring out the fragrance.
  4. Add all the vegetables to the quinoa and lentils. Add the parmesan, breadcrumbs, herbs, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine well, then set aside to cool. Mix through the egg to bind everything together. Transfer the mixture into a large piping bag with a 3cm diameter hole. (A piping bag will make it easier to distribute the filling, but you can always spoon it onto the pastry if you don’t have one.) Refrigerate while you prepare the pastry.
  5. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Put the pastry on a lightly floured kitchen bench and roll it out into a rectangle measuring 30 × 60cm and 4mm thick. Lay the pastry so that one long side is parallel with the edge of the bench. Cut the pastry in half lengthways so you have two sheets, 15 × 60cm.
  6. Pipe half the filling in a horizontal line one-third of the way up each pastry sheet. Brush the pastry above each line of filling with egg wash. Lift up the pastry along the edge closest to you and fold it up and over the filling. Seal the pastry along the egg-washed edge, so the seam sits underneath the filling. The pastry should hold the filling evenly and not be too tight.
  7. Brush the tops and sides of both rolls with egg wash, lightly pierce along the top with a fork, then sprinkle with cumin seeds. Cut each roll into 15cm logs. Lay your sausage rolls on the lined tray and rest them in the fridge for 30 minutes. At this stage, you can freeze them until required.
  8. To bake the sausage rolls, preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). Bake from cold for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Bake for a further 25-30 minutes, turning the tray halfway through, until the pastry is golden, puffed and flaky. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before eating.

Makes 8

Flaky shortcrust pastry

This has been my go-to pastry for years. It’s perfect for lots of my favourite bakes, such as galettes, quiche or tops for pot pies. It is very easy to make and use, and it gives you a wonderfully light, flaky crust. If you want to add even more flavour, substitute the water with creme fraiche, sour cream or milk kefir.

Wholegrain flours absorb more liquid than plain. If you find the dough too dry, add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have the correct consistency.

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 350g plain flour
  • 6g (1 tsp) fine salt
  • 120g chilled water

Wholemeal variation

  • 225g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 250g wholemeal (wholewheat) or spelt flour
  • 100g plain flour
  • 6g (1 tsp) fine salt
  • 140g chilled water

METHOD

  1. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and chill it in the freezer while you weigh up the rest of your ingredients.
  2. Put the flour and salt in a mound on your kitchen bench and scatter the chilled butter cubes over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll the butter into the flour, gathering the flour back into the middle as you go with a dough scraper or spatula. Keep rolling until the mixture is crumbly with shards of butter the size of rolled oats still visible.
  3. Make a well in the middle and add the chilled water. Use a dough scraper or knife to gently cut the flour into the water, gathering up any leaks as you do, until you have an even crumbly texture. Use your fingertips to gently push it all together into a rough dough with a slightly sticky texture. If it feels dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until there are no floury bits left.
  4. Roll out or press the dough into a rectangle 2-3cm thick (exact dimensions are not important here). Fold one-third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into a rectangle 2-3cm thick, then repeat the letter fold. Don’t worry about making these folds perfectly neat – this is just to finish bringing the dough together and layering the butter, which results in a lovely flakiness.
  5. Rotate and roll out the dough once more into a rectangle 2-3cm thick and do one last fold. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. The pastry will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Makes 700g (enough to line 2 x 23-25cm deep tart tins)

Caramelised onions

I always have caramelised onions on hand. They are so tasty and can really boost the flavour of just about anything. I add them to pizza, pasta, quiche, galettes and sandwiches. Use a heavy-based frypan to slowly cook the onions over a low heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to prevent them sticking. Caramelise the onions to a light golden colour, just enough to draw out all the sugars and flavour. I aim for a light colour here so they won’t burn when used in baking later on.

INGREDIENTS

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 40g (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1kg onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 5g flaky sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large heavy-based frypan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes to soften the onion and release the juices. The salt will help to draw the juices out.
  2. Take the lid off and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 45 minutes to slowly caramelise the onions. The mixture will dry out and appear thick and glossy once ready. Stir in the thyme and taste for seasoning.
  3. Store the caramelised onion for 1 week in the fridge. For longer storage, pour into sterilised jars and seal. Store the unopened jars in the pantry for up to 6 months.

Makes 2 × 250ml jars

Egg wash

Egg wash is a mixture brushed onto pastry before baking to give the finished product a lovely golden shine and a little extra crispness and flakiness. It can also be used to fill holes or cracks in a pastry tart shell. Simply brush the surface of the shell in the last few minutes of blind baking to ensure any small holes are sealed. If the hole is too big, use a little piece of raw dough and use the egg wash like a cement to plug that hole, then blind bake for a further 5 minutes to seal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 20g (1 tbsp) full-cream milk a pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Just whisk all the ingredients together. It will keep, refrigerated, in a sealed container for a few days. The salt helps to denature the proteins in the eggs so it’s easier to brush the pastry.

Savoury shortcrust pastry

This is the pastry I use for all savoury pie bases, whether for individual pies or a large one. Being very sturdy, it can also be used as a base for quiches. The leftover dough or trimmings can be used again until they are used up, although the texture will change. It’s very easy to make, and is therefore a good pastry introduction for children learning alongside you. Once made, the dough will set hard because it has lots of butter, so take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you roll it so that it’s malleable without being soft.

INGREDIENTS

  • 110g water, at room temperature
  • 10g (2 tsp) white vinegar
  • 320g plain flour
  • 10g fine salt
  • 110g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1cm cubes

METHOD

  1. Combine the water and vinegar in a jug. Put the flour and salt in a mound on your kitchen bench and scatter the chilled butter over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll the butter into the flour, gathering the flour back into the middle as you go with a dough scraper or spatula.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the water and vinegar mixture. Continue using the dough scraper to fold the flour over the liquid and gently work it in with your hands, working from the outside in, until the dough just comes together. The dough should be firm and not sticky to the touch.
  3. Roll out or press the dough into a rectangle 2-3cm thick (exact dimensions are not important here). Fold one-third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into a rectangle 2-3cm thick, then repeat the letter fold. Don’t worry about making these folds perfectly neat – this is just to finish bringing the dough together and layering the butter, which results in a lovely flakiness.
  4. Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 2cm thick. Wrap the dough and rest it in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight, before using. The pastry will keep for 1 week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
  5. If you prefer to use a stand mixer to make this dough, put the flour, salt and butter cubes in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to break the butter into the flour until you have shards of butter still visible and the mixture starts to look yellow.
  6. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the vinegar mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. You don’t want any dry pieces, but you need to be careful not to overwork it. You can add a bit more water if you have any dry clumps, but don’t let the dough get sticky.
  7. Proceed with the above rolling and shaping instructions from here.

Makes 560g

Puff pastry

Puff pastry can look spectacular and has many uses. Making it is not as difficult as you might think. In particular, the perception that it’s time-consuming can be off-putting; it does take time, but it’s short bursts of work punctuated by long rests. I recommend breaking down the process into small chunks: prepare the dough and butter block two days before you want to bake, laminate the butter into the dough the next day, then let it rest overnight in the fridge before using.

Take note of the weather and observe how the butter is performing. If it’s too soft, it might need more time in the fridge between folds; if it’s too hard, it will crack. The vinegar helps to prevent discolouration and also helps with the gluten cross-linking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 70g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 150g chilled water
  • 10g (2 tsp) white vinegar
  • 340g plain flour
  • 10g fine salt

For laminating

  • 250g block unsalted butter, at room temperature

METHOD

  1. DAY 1 Take the 70g butter out of the fridge, cut it into 1cm cubes and leave to soften slightly for 10 minutes before you start – you want it to be cold but pliable.
  2. Combine the water and vinegar in a jug. Put the flour, salt and butter cubes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to break the butter into the flour until you have shards of butter the size of rolled oats still visible. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the vinegar mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. You don’t want any dry pieces, but you need to be careful not to overwork the dough.
  3. Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 1cm thick. Wrap the dough and rest it in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the butter for laminating. Place the butter block between two sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle roughly measuring 18 × 20cm. Put the butter in the fridge, between the sheets of baking paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. DAY 2 Remove the dough and rolled-out butter from the fridge about 30 minutes before you laminate the pastry. You want the butter to be malleable but not too soft.
  6. Lightly dust your kitchen bench with flour. Lay the dough rectangle on the bench with one short side parallel with the edge of the bench. Roll the dough away from you to form a rectangle measuring 20 × 40cm, still with the short side closest to you.
  7. Place the butter block in the middle of the dough, with the 20cm side of the butter parallel with the bench. Fold both free short sides of the dough over the top of the butter so they meet in the middle, encasing the butter. Lightly pinch the ends together to seal (the seam should run parallel with the bench).
  8. Rotate the dough block 90 degrees so the seam is now perpendicular to the bench. Using your rolling pin, gently press or stamp along the length of the dough to make it more malleable (you can do this at any stage in the process to make the dough easier to work with). Next, roll the dough away from you to form a 20 × 40cm rectangle, again with one short side parallel with the bench. Starting from the side closest to you, fold the bottom third of the dough into the middle, then the top third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  9. Put your dough on the bench with the open seam on your right-hand side and perpendicular to the edge of the bench. Roll the dough away from you to form a 20 × 40cm rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the dough into the middle, then the top third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Repeat this step until you have completed four single (or letter) folds in total. Refrigerate your pastry for 1 hour after every two folds to keep the butter from getting too soft (refrigerate for 30 minutes after every fold if it’s a warm day). If you have kept the pastry in the fridge for more than 1 hour, allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before continuing (reduce this time in hot weather).
  10. Once all four folds are done, wrap your pastry and rest it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight, before you use it. Chilling the pastry before using it prevents it from shrinking. Roll it out to whatever thickness you need. The pastry will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge, or up to 1 month in the freezer.

Makes 830g

Lard shortcrust pastry

This is a traditional Cornish pasty pastry. My Gran used to make this lard pastry every week for our pasties or pasty tarts, so it’s an incredibly well-used and proven recipe. It’s also wonderfully easy to work with; if it tears, you can simply stretch a little excess over the rip and carry on. The lard and butter provide lots of flavour, making it a good option for almost any savoury bake. You can, of course, also just use all butter in the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 700g plain flour
  • 6g (1 tsp) fine salt
  • 175g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 175g lard, chilled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 270g chilled water

METHOD

  1. Put the flour and salt in a mound on your kitchen bench and scatter the chilled butter and lard cubes over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll the fats into the flour, gathering the flour back into the middle as you go with a dough scraper or spatula. Keep rolling until the mixture has a crumbly texture, with shards of butter the size of rolled oats still visible.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the chilled water. Continue using the dough scraper to fold the flour over the water and gently work it in with your hands, working from the outside in, until the dough just comes together. The dough should be firm and not sticky to the touch.
  3. Roll out or press the dough into a rectangle 2-3cm thick (exact dimensions are not important here). Fold one-third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into a rectangle 2-3cm thick, then repeat the letter fold. Don’t worry about making these folds perfectly neat – this is just to finish bringing the dough together and layering the butter, which results in a lovely flakiness.
  4. Fold the dough over itself a few times to create rough layers. Shape it into a flat block, then wrap and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, before using. The pastry will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Makes 1.3kg

This is an edited extract from All Day Baking by Michael and Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45.00. Photographer by Lisa Cohen. Buy now

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