Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recipes - Sasi's basic Pastry Crust

Ok, so I had been struggling with baking for the past few years mainly because I had focused my attention on cooking. It's all visual, and it's happens right there and then! Who doesn't like instant gratification? With baking it's a lot of technique, careful measurements (not good at that, would rather eye my quantities - hey I'm an african woman, what can I say?!), and then just waiting for the chemistry (hopefully the right one) to do its magic...! 
Ever since I decided to learn to make bread and mastered the recipe, I kind of want to make again; and bake perfectly (I'm definitely a perfectionist when in comes to making food).

Anyhow, this recipe is not mine, and I have not changed it from the way I got it. It was given to me by my Nana, my "soul grandma" (hey if there are "soul sisters", there should be other "soul" relatives too, me thinks), Doris, who makes amazing pies, and amazing classic American food in general. 
She is a wonderful person, a devoted Christian and woman with a beautiful heart who ever since we (my sister Martha and I) met her, has supported us in any way she ever could and even the least expected! 
Under her bed or in one of her drawer, (can't remember lol), she keeps a cute little box that contains little pieces of paper on which she has written (or asked people to write) prayer topics, for which she prays regularly. She has a spicy sense of humor just like I do sometimes and a fun personality; she is definitely a "cool" grandma (she is on facebook!!! I had to stop her from getting on Twitter!!! Nah I'm lying lol but yeah she rocks on facebook!) who never forgets to remind you of the love of God, and His purpose for our life. 

We have had long chatty evenings, beautiful chilly nights around bonfire with melting marshmallow sticks, fun movie nights with your classic sandwiches and chips, and holiday dinners with her amazing family (2 children, and 4 grandchildren and 3 step-grandchildren).
She loves making food even tough she does not believe that she is that good of a cook. She is an amazing cook, believe me! And that's coming from an African girl. And of course with a grandma nurturing spirit, she an excellent hostess.
About a month ago, I had gone to drop my sister at her house. I spend the night there since it is 6 hours away from where I live and I had to come back the next day. When I came downstairs, ready to leave, this is what I found all packed up for me!!

All that for a 6 hours trip, and because she wanted to avoid me having to stop and buy food on my way. Yup thats the type of woman that she is!!!!

Hopefully I can get her to contribute directly to the blog as she is also a very good writer and editor (she worked on editing a friend's recipe book).

Anyways so I'm sharing here the recipe she originally gave me for her delicious fried apple pies (which my husband absolutely loves, and he is rather picky when it comes to food!) -- actually for the "crust part" of the recipe.
I renamed it Sasi's basic pastry crust because it is an excellent and very forgiving recipe which is going to be my main crust recipe when it comes to pastries. Now, I know that pastry crust, at least the european and american way, is supposed to be light and flaky without completely falling apart. Well I cook the African way so most recipes for pastry crust or even the ready made from the grocery store does not really work for our samousas as the crust is not supposed to be flaky at all; rather slightly crusty, thin with some consistency and a little chewy. 
This particular recipe works perfectly and it's the one I use for my Samousas, and they turn out perfectly!!!

So enough of the talking, and thank you Doris!!! Here we go!
You need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder; cut in butter. add eggs milk; mix to form a soft dough. Take the dough to a flat, clean, floured surface (such as the kitchen counter or a chopping board), knead the dough for a couple of minutes (not too long of it becomes hard), adding a little bit of flour at a time to reduce stickiness if you need to, then form the dough into a ball and use it right away or cover with plastic film/wrap or a clean kitchen towel to prevent from drying.
You can also wrap it in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for using later (I have successfully done that).

Continue reading the Samousas recipes
View pictures of the Samousa at Sasi's kitchen table, ready to be eaten.


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