Pastry has been at the heart of British culture for centuries – just think of Cornish pasties, Bakewell tarts, Melton Mowbray pork pies and all those other regional specialities. Whether feeding families or lining stomachs at elegant cocktail parties, it effortlessly runs the gamut from the robust to the refined. However, despite its versatility and popularity, it is strangely no longer a staple in our kitchens. This is perhaps due to a couple of common misconceptions, with people fearing that their dishes will be too fiddly, or the finished result too filling. Both are untrue.
Pastry needn’t be stodgy, even in the most robust and comforting of dishes. On the contrary, traditional dishes such as steak and kidney pie can be given a complete makeover with a few tricks and tweaks to make them light, quick and easy. The versatility of pastry allows for experimentation and creativity – any dish can be elevated to culinary heights with the addition of a fluffy puff, a crumbly shortcrust or a crispy filo, and the cook can be safe in the knowledge that the dish will please.
Tweak and tweak again – success is, after all, often born from failure – add a bit of this and a dash of that, personalise and add your own twist and create your own contemporary pastry classics.
To help you on your way we have teamed up with Jus Rol, the clear pastry experts with 60 years of pastry know-how. Hailing from a British family bakery in the 30s, Jus-Rol pastry is made in Britain to this day and they produce a wide range of puff, shortcrust and filo pastry for the most adventurous of cooks.
Together we have created a wonderful range of inventive recipes and plenty of the tips and tricks you need to boost your confidence and win praise at meal-time.
Always golden, always flaky, always perfect fuss-free pastry dishes for every occasion; from Friday night to Sunday lunch showstoppers.
With the long week over, Friday nights are for sinking into the sofa and savouring that glorious feeling of freedom. It’s a treat night for all the family, but this time skip the fish and chips and get involved with some creative pastry fun. Try a tasty take-away alternative such as these Puff pastry pizzas or roll out the filo and put together some Chicken, manchego and chorizo briouats. Both dishes are great for playing around with whatever ingredients you have left in the fridge at the end of the week – experiment with toppings and fillings that everyone will love. The simple preparation leaves plenty of time to relax outside of the kitchen, too.
Brunch is the perfect course to offer something a bit different – a leisurely, indulgent step up from traditional breakfast and more informal than lunch, it offers an escape from routine and is the perfect way to start a foodie weekend. Make your kitchen the hottest new brunch spot with some innovative twists on classic pastry concoctions. A Savoury lattice pie with butternut squash, leek, lemon and ricotta or an Apple and bacon puff pastry tart are delightfully light and simple, but still exciting enough to score you some brownie points.
Lunch at the weekend can be a planned affair, but sometimes it’s something a bit more . . . thrown together. All you need is some lovely ready-to-go pastry and you are sorted. When you’re caught short but looking to impress, open the veg drawer in your fridge and put together a Caramelised shallot and goat’s cheese galette, or a beautifully golden and flaky Root vegetable tarte Tatin – nobody will ever know it didn’t take you days of careful planning.
Sunday dinner is traditionally associated with Sunday roast, but we are more ambitious than that. We want gasps, delight and, dare we say it, standing ovations. Above all, we want a showstopper, a pastry-based centrepiece which proves a worthy alternative to over-cooked beef and soft roast potatoes. Dishes such as a Pithivier of chicken, squash and sage or a Chocolate and Peanut Ganache Tartelette, are all great ways to end a perfect weekend and set you up for the week ahead.
If you, or a loved one, is a vegetarian, read our comprehensive vegetarian pastry dishes guide – a great source of inspiration on how to adapt meat dishes to please the non meat-eaters in your life.