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LOW  FAT  PASTRY  ( no saturated or hydrogenated fat)

A low fat pastry, made with liquid vegetable oil, is my new creation to provide a healthier suitable crust or container for fruit and savoury pies. This seems to be an original idea, which I have perfected after quite a few tries. If any professional chefs want to use my recipe, it would be nice if they acknowledge where they got the recipe!

Cook book recipes and shop-bought pastry, while quite tasty, almost invariably contain 50% of saturated or hydrogenated fats, which are well known to clog up arteries. The high fat content is what generally gives pastry a crispness and helps to prevent it going too soggy when it contains a very moist filling.

My low fat pastry recipe may not be as crisp as usual pastries, but I find it a perfectly acceptable alternative for using in fruit pie or savoury pie casings. It has another useful property in that it does not collapse when you reheat your pie in a micro-wave, as happens with traditional pastry recipes. This is very useful attribute when you want a quick way of using up leftovers. The healthiest, and cheapest oil to use is rapeseed oil, which has the lowest amount of saturated fat content at 7%. All vegetable oils contain a small amount of saturated fats.

Low fat short crust pastry for use with fruit pies.

Sift 225 g or 8 oz of plain flour into a large bowl with ½ tsp of baking powder and 2 tbs of castor sugar.  The small quantity of baking powder helps to prevent the pastry becoming hard. This quantity should be enough to line and cover a 20 cm pie dish.

Put 50 g or 2 oz of liquid vegetable oil and 4 tbs of cold water into a jug, and whisk together with a fork till they start to emulsify.

Sprinkle the liquid over the flour and baking powder and gently bring the ingredients together with a fork till they start to bind together. If the mixture is too dry, sprinkle extra teaspoons of cold water, until the mixture binds together to form a disk of raw pastry. Do not overwork the pastry or it will become tough.

Place the pastry on a well floured board and roll out to your desired size with a rolling pin. Put the pastry onto your rolling pin and place carefully onto the bottom of your well oiled pie plate. Try not to tear the pastry when you ease it into the pie dish, or the liquid will leak out of the pastry case. You can repair any damage by “gluing” a small piece of pastry over the hole by wetting the pastry with your finger.

Beat an egg and paint the beaten egg with a pastry brush, onto the pastry that is going to be in contact with the pie filling. This will help to prevent the pastry going soggy.

A one piece pastry pie is the easiest way to construct a pie and gives a nice rustic homemade touch.

Fill your pie with your cold fruit filling, sprinkle with sugar to taste, and if you wish cover the pie with a pastry topping. If you sprinkle the base of your pie with 2 tbsp of semolina before adding your fruit filling, it will help to soak up some of the fruit juices.

Your pie could be an open pie, or a closed pie in which case you would be best baking the casing blind for 15 min at 210 C to firm the pastry before adding the filling.

Cook the pie in a convection oven at 210 C for the time recommended in your recipe.

Click here for Recipe for a fruit tart.

Low fat short crust pastry for use with savoury pies.

Use the same recipe as above, but replace the sugar with a good grind of black pepper or mustard.