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Whey hey! A pastry that pops

Friday, November 23, 2012

The few plants on my balcony get fed some good stuff every time I make yoghurt. After straining the curd to get thick Greek-style yoghurt (or yoghurt cheese as it is also called), I pour the whey onto the plants since I've read that the protein in it is good for them.
And then I read about using the whey as a substitute for the liquid in baking. How long has this been going on? Why have I not informed myself on this sooner?
Sorry, plants. It's plain water from the tap for you fellows from now on.
Well, I started experimenting by using whey instead of water in a straightforward bread recipe. The texture was the same but there was a slight tang to the taste, as if I had added a sourdough leaven. It was quite pleasant.
But what I was really pleased about – and I know I did not imagine this – was that after manually kneading the dough, my hands felt softer. So that's another good reason to use whey. And to knead dough by hand.
Right, while I was quite confident that whey would not adversely affect a bread dough, I didn't know what to expect with pie pastry since it's a bit more temperamental. I chose to make toaster pastries, based on that famous brand, Pop-Tarts®, a snack which I have never eaten before but which I like the look of. They're flat, filled with nice things and easy to carry about – what's not to like?
I am pleased to say that the pastry with the whey turned out well.
Bake until partly cooked, freeze and then cook in the toaster oven until fully cooked

The tarts were filled with raspberry and apricot jams and a chocolate spread. Now, as the montage above (top, right) shows, some of the tarts leaked jam. I love the Bonne Maman brand, but the raspberry jam was just too runny to stay put inside the pastry shell. The apricot, from another brand, was more set, and the chocolate spread, of course, hardly moved at all.
These tarts are meant to be toasted in a toaster oven as the pastry is not sturdy enough for a pop-up toaster like commercial Pop-Tarts. But that's a good thing. The pastry is soft – and stays that way when chilled – yet it is easy to work with. And it is tender after baking, although keep an eye on the tarts when they're in the toaster oven or they may end up burnt like the first two I toasted here.
Keep an eye on the tarts when toasting, and mind the hot filling when biting in

Toaster Tarts
Makes 9  palm-sized tarts

1 quantity whey pie dough
Fillings, about a tablespoon for each tart (eg. jam, chocolate spread, fruit slices, cream cheese)
1 egg, beaten

Whey Pie Dough
270g all-purpose flour
½ tsp table salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp caster sugar
70g white shortening (eg. Crisco)
180ml yoghurt whey (top up with water or milk if there isn't enough whey)

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together. Stir in the sugar. Rub the shortening into the flour mixture. Make a well in the centre and pour in almost all the whey. Bring the ingredients together into a ball, adding more whey if the mixture is too dry. Knead the dough for 10 seconds, then form into a disc and wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with non-stick paper.
Divide the dough into two. Roll each portion out into a 30cm by 24cm rectangle, and cut each one into 9 smaller rectangles, roughly 10cm by 8cm (life is too short to be absolutely precise with this; don't worry, it'll all work out in the end). Brush half of the pieces with beaten egg and place a heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre. Spread the filling to 1.5cm from the edge. Lay the other 9 pieces of pastry on top of the filling. Press the edges of the pastry together and crimp with the fork. Prick the tops several times with a fork.
Place tarts on the baking sheet and bake until the tops turn light brown, 10-12 minutes. This will only cook them partly. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Place them on a tray and freeze them, about 30 minutes. Store in freezer bags.
To eat, pop a tart into a medium hot toaster oven (200°C) for 5-7 minutes and cook until golden brown. Take care when biting into the tart as the filling will be hot.

1 comment:

  1. I make Greek yogurt about twice a week and always have tons of whey. I've been using it for my breads for quite a while now, with excellent results. I have also been looking for other uses of whey, so this pop tart is going straight to my list. They look fantastic and great to have around in the freezer for a quick snack. Delicious!


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