Sweet Pastry

This week on GBBO, the showstopper challenge was to make an American Pie. Surely this challenge was made for me! I’m an American, it should be my topic of expertise. I was so excited when Catherine made a chocolate peanut butter pie – the perfect combination and one of my all-time favorite pies but it didn’t go over well with the judges. I don’t know what Paul Hollywood was talking about when he said he didn’t like it! I mean, how could you NOT?! Catherine was robbed.

For my challenge I wanted to make a pecan pie, one of my mother’s classics and a surefire hit. Unfortunately for me, my mother was travelling for work so I scoured the internet to find another recipe. Turns out that was a huge mistake. First I made my pastry using a slightly different recipe than before, and it worked sooooo well. I felt like everything was going to plan. Pastry was good. Filling looked good. Pecans were arranged beautifully.  But then I stuck it in the oven and it all came crashing down from there. The pie completely bubbled up into a huge dome and had terrible cracks and flakes of filling everywhere. I can’t even describe the carnage. It was devastating – I failed at a challenge based on my own heritage.  I’m sorry, American pie, I failed you.


However, all is not lost! The sweet pastry was really good, so I felt I should at least post this one because it’s been the only pastry recipe I’ve been happy with so far. So for now, here’s the recipe. Pecan pie – we shall meet again.


  • 500 grams flour, sifted
  • 100 grams icing sugar, sifted
  • 250 grams butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • milk


1. Sift together the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Then, using your hands, rub the cubes of cold butter into the flour mixture, incorporating it as much as you can. It should have a slightly crumbly texture.

2. Pour out your mixture onto your work surface and bring it together into a little pile with a hole in the middle – like a volcano. Put both of your eggs into the hole and bring together the pastry mixture until it starts to form a dough.

3. As you bring everything together, add a bit of milk, about a teaspoon at a time until you have all of the dry ingredients evenly incorporated. Once it becomes a smooth dough, wrap your pastry in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

The trick is to bring everything together as quickly as possible so that your don’t heat the butter up too much or overwork the dough. When it’s chilled and ready to go, then just roll out as needed over a surface dusted with flour. And that’s it! Easy peasy.


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