Potato Pastry

This from a War Cookery Leaflet issued by the Ministry of Food,
There is no vegetable more useful than the homely potato. Potatoes are a cheap source of energy […] They contain the same vitamin as oranges and ¾ lb. of potatoes daily will give over half the amount of this vitamin needed to prevent fatigue and help fight infection.

This leaflet, as did all the others published by the Ministry, stressed the value of home-grown vegetables, in the context of a war economy, rationing and the Kitchen Front. Emphasis was placed on the duty people had to think imaginatively about what food they had available: So don’t think of potatoes as something to serve with the meat. They can be much more than that. The resulting diet is close to what nutritionists are advising us to eat now. But could we go back to only eating from seasonal produce?

We’ve tried various potato pastry recipes with differing degrees of success, but keep returning to both the Ministry recipe and Peter Thomson’s basic recipe in Gluten Free Cookery.

The recipes below are for a good floury potato such as Bleu D’Auvergene but we’ve also used Desiree, which is waxy. Depending on the variety of potato being used we adjust the amount of flour slightly, usually adding around 1 oz extra of cornflour.

We’ve also used parsnip, and beetroot as a substitute for potato. Both work well. The beetroot makes an unusual looking pastry but with no noticeable difference in taste or texture.

Basic shortcrust potato pastry
6 oz (175g) cooked mashed potato (a ricer is good for this)
3 oz (75g) rice flour
2 oz (50g) cornflour (or corn meal)
4 oz (100g) butter (well chilled)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Combine potato, flours, & salt. We use a food processor. Then add the butter cut into small pieces.
Knead the dough lightly on a clean, floured surface. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out on a well-floured surface (I use rice four). Keep moving the pastry to prevent it from sticking. Roll out quite thinly & press into pie dish or tartlet cases. Bake blind in a preheated oven, gas mark 7, 425F, 220C, until golden. Add filling & pastry top if making a pie; return to the oven & bake until done.

Potato Pastry (from the Ministry of Food War Cookery Leaflet)
8 oz (200g) mashed potatoes.
4 oz (100g) flour.
1 oz (25g) cooking fat.
½ teaspoonful salt.

Mix the flour with the salt. Rub in the fat and work into the potato. Mix to a very dry dough with a small quantity of cold water. Knead with the fingers and roll out. The recipe calls for this but we refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking blind in a preheated oven gas mark 7, 425F, 220C, until golden.

Monday 2nd January,

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