Sour Cream Pastry

A failproof traditional Sour Cream Pastry as made by my grandmother and mother. The vodka or brandy can be omitted but not only does it improve the taste, it prevents the pastry from shrinking excessively on baking.

You will need

3 cups (360 g) flour
250 g butter
1 t (5 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream or crème fraiche
2 T (30ml) of vodka or brandy (optional)

Ina's Tip

Add brandy with the sour cream. It makes the pastry easier to handle and gives it a very good flavour. Because the alcohol evaporates on baking, the pastry does not become heavy, it remains crisp and light.

Method

Sift flour twice and cut in the butter with a small knife, a pastry blender (illustrated) or your fingertips. Be very careful if using a food processor, it is inclined to transform the dough into a paste within seconds. The knobs of butter should remain as big a peas, and never become as small as breadcrumbs, or worse, a paste. Leave the flour butter mixture to stand at room temperature in a cool spot for 20 minutes to allow some of the moisture from the butter to be absorbed by the flour.

Add the salt to the sour cream and leave to dissolve (undissolved salt can form spots in the dough). Add all the sour cream at once to the flour mixture and cut in with a knife. Add the vodka or brandy if using. Once well blended, use one hand to knead the dough until it holds together and forms a ball.

No need to add extra water, just continue kneading lightly, the dough will become manageable and start to adhere.

Flatten to a dish – wrap in greaseproof paper.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge again for half an hour or longer.

Roll out on a floured board and fold into thirds. Turn the dough parcel half a turn so the open side faces towards you.

Roll and fold once more in the same way. Let the dough rest wrapped in baking paper for another half an hour in the fridge.

Repeat the roll and fold process three times more. The dough is now ready for use, or can be refrigerated wrapped in baking paper and then sealed in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Bake at 190C – 200C.