We tend only ever to have fruit or yoghurt or ice cream for pudding normally, if at all, and I make pastry about once a year for Christmas mince pies. Whenever I made it to the standard shortcrust formula years ago, with water, it always stuck to the rolling pin or worktop, so I added more flour, which made it dry and vile.
And then I discovered the recipe in How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson’s book on baking and comfort cooking which, contrary to what some small-minded people might think, one can enjoy and still be a feminist, that employs orange juice to make the pastry tender and malleable and much easier to work with. Pastry made this way was always fab but still stuck to my bun tins, no matter how non-stick they were supposed to be.
All that work for mince pies that had to be prised out of their little compartments with a knife and then crumbled all over the kitchen. All that work for mince pies rendered, in the end, to sad rubble. And then the bun tins would be washed up and forgotten, consigned to the baking cupboard until the following year’s mince pie debacle.
Well, this year I refused to be caught out. I bought silicone bun tins weeks ago, before they were sold out. I love silicone bakeware because stuff NEVER sticks to it.
Then, of course the problem was which size pastry cutter to use with the new bun tins. My first batch made the pies too shallow and the scant teaspoonful of mincemeat still bubbled over and would have stuck to a normal tin. So then I used cocktail mini bun tins. And these came out perfectly. Especially with my accurate and fabulous new oven.
So, the secret to baking turning out well is to use the right equipment for the job.