Beef suet is the best to use, but packaged shredded suet is fine if you can't find the real thing.
Suet pastry works on a 2:1 ratio of 2 parts flour to 1 part suet.
INGREDIENTS: [Makes enough to line and top one large pie or to top four 5 inch diameter individual pies]
200g (14oz) self raising flour
100g (7oz) beef suet (or the packaged shredded suet is perfectly fine)
Pinch of salt for savoury pastry- omit salt and use a little sugar if for sweet pastry
4 tablespoons ice cold water. [ a touch more for dumplings ]
1. Pulse the flour with the suet briefly in a food processor or crumble them together with cold hands in a large bowl.
2. Add the salt (or sugar) and the egg and pulse or mix briefly. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and pulse or mix just enough until the dough clumps and starts to come together. Press it together into a disk, cover with two sheets of cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before rolling.
1. Suet pastry is quite a soft dough and will stick to your hands. It’s worth rubbing some flour between your hands to remove most of the sticky stuff before washing them
2. Beef suet has a wonderful flavour but can be hard to find. The packaged type is fine.
Vegetable suet is made from vegetable oil, and you can also get a lower fat version – neither are recommended.
3. Do NOT use plain flour! You need to lighten a suet pastry or it will have the texture of cardboard
4. Sweet suet pastry is ideal for apple dumplings.
5. A valuable tip given to me by Kim: If glazing a pie crust Thin your egg wash with either water or milk, and add a pinch of salt, this works wonderfully, and to avoid a streaky appearance preferably use a proper old fashioned bristle pastry brush, not those silly silicon brushes that are around now, they are hopeless for brushing pastry (although quite useful for basting meat, or removing toffee from the sides of the pan to prevent it crystalising. etc)
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