“ Brand: Jus-Rol / Type: Pastry „
My family likes to get in plenty of mince pie eating before Christmas. Sadly this year, whilst I made the mincemeat early on, I knew I would be working a lot over Christmas and my mince pie production wouldn't be able to keep paced with demand. So I decided to invest in some ready made pastry. I was going to buy just puff as it takes longer to make but I came across some heavily reduced short crust as well, so I bought some. The Jus Rol ready rolled short crust sheets were reduced from £1.50 for 320g to 50p each, for reasons best known to Tesco's themselves as they had a best before date of a couple of weeks ahead. Their loss is my gain!
CHILLED AND FROZEN
The Jus rol pastry comes in both chilled and frozen versions, but I am reviewing the chilled ones. I have used the frozen before, and they are about the same taste wise to the chilled version but they require defrosting so obviously are less good if you suddenly find yourself with some baking time to spare. Frozen is cheaper though - usually - although this does change a lot. I have been keeping an eye on the price over the last few weeks, and all Jus rol products seem to be on offer somewhere or other every time I look. Just to confuse things the chilled pastry can be frozen if you do so on the day of purchase and are happy to defrost for 2 hours at room temperature before you use it. I have done this before, and it works fine- the defrost time is about accurate. You can't re-freeze it once thawed though.
EASY TO USE
The ready rolled sheets are exactly that - a sheet of uncooked pastry that is already rolled out. It is however rolled up and so it needs to be unfurled before use which is very quick to do and not fiddly. A blue sheet of plastic seperates the folds in the packet to stop the lot sticking together, and you can use this to keep the pastry on prior to stamping out etc. It saves flouring the work surface which reduces cleaning up time. The 320g of pastry makes a rectangle 35 by 23cm - I believe the frozen sheets are round but that any have changed. I however used the sheet to make around 9 mince pies - bear in mind I make mine deep so you may well get a few more out if you don't. As you can see from the quantity of pies made, you do pay for convenience and I spend a lot less on making my own short crust. Technically you are advised to remove the pastry from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it, to prevent it cracking when handled. I do try to handle pastry as little as possible, and perhaps this is why I have had no problems despite getting the pastry out of the fridge no more than 10 minutes before I want to use it. I usually chill home made dough a little before I use it anyway, for the same reason that it is supposed to make it easier to handle, so remembering to take the Jus Rol out of the fridge is no trouble. Leaving aside the resting time, the whole preparation of the mince pies took hardly 5 minutes - that time just goes into cutting out the rounds and spooning in the mincemeat. This is less time than it would take me to get out my mixing bowls, measure ingredients and - then wash them up afterwards so there is definitely a time saving element to using Jus Rol.
The pastry is slightly thinner in thickness than that I would roll my own out to but I decided to use it that way and in fact it was perfect for the pies. It transferred well from work top to tins without stretching or falling apart and holds the mince meat perfectly. If you did want to use a thicker pastry, you could roll it up and then roll it out again, but that obviously defeats the purpose of the "ready roll" bit, although you would still save the preparation time. I thought the pastry had a good overall texture when I stamped it out.
The proof is in the eating of course. It cooks just as well as any other, colouring up attractively and smelling good! There is suggested oven temperatures given on the packaging but I have just used the ones I normally would when baking my own pies as I have two ovens that tend to cook either quicker or slower than average. I am pleased to say the pastry tastes nice, and is just crispy enough to suit me as I hate soggy bases. It tastes fresh, rather than like something that has been in your fridge for a few days. It is not the most buttery tasting by any means - more of a everyday pastry than a special occasion one I think. It is however intended to be suitable for both sweet and savoury dishes and I do think it would taste fine on both. The lack of butter is actually a plus point because the pastry is vegan and I can therefore use it when baking for my family members who don't eat dairy. You can't customise the taste of course by adding nuts etc as I normally do but whatever filling you use with the pastry could be customised instead.
A 50g portion contains 27% of an adults RDA of fat, which is not surprising given it's pastry- not a notoriously low fat food! I am sure my home made versions are no better for slimming.
KEEP YOUR PACKAGING!
At the moment Jus Rol have a promotion where reward point codes are printed on certain packets of pastry. Each one is worth 10 points and once entered on to the Jus Rol rewards website can be redeemed for baking goods with a minimum redemption of 20 points - a pastry brush. There's also a £5 supermarket gift card for 70 points when I looked so don't throw your packaging away without checking for a code!
WOULD I RECOMMEND THE PASTRY?
I would, except if you want a very rich buttery tasting pastry. This one has a less luxurious taste but is still very pleasant tasting, and easy to cook and handle. If you have both time and inclination to make your own, I would recommend doing so simply because it is likely to be cheaper. I am more likely to buy the puff variant in the future myself, should I get busy again, as that is more time consuming than short crust to make, but I am happy to use Jus Rol when I need to.
Available at all supermarkets. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Contains wheat flour.
In my house I prefer to make everything from scratch that can be. The one noticeable exception to this is pastry. Making pastry is such a pain and it can so easily be over-worked or just generally give less than perfect results. I find that a really reliable alternative to homemade pastry is the pre-packaged stuff and I even once heard Delia recommend it, which instantly calmed all the guilty feelings I had about cutting corners.
I have always used Jus-Rol pastry in the past. It is a good trusted brand and has delivered on quality time and time again. I had never used the ready rolled stuff before but it was all that was left in the shop on one particular visit and so I thought it would do. Unfortunately I was left a little disappointed.
The pastry comes packaged in a long, thin cardboard box. The branding is the same as on all the other Jus-Rol products which are colour coded according to what type of pastry it is. So the packet I bought had a light blue background to show that it is shortcrust pastry whereas the puff pastry features a green background and I believe that the filo pastry comes in a packet that has a purple background. I find this to be a useful design feature, as I know how easy it is to just take a quick glance at something without properly checking the specifics and then end up coming away with the wrong thing.
Inside this cardboard box you find a single sheet of pastry that has been rolled up with a plastic sheet that stops the pastry from sticking to itself. Although I can't find anywhere how big this sheet of pastry is meant to be I did find that it was a little smaller than I had expected, probably no bigger than 35cm x 25cm, although that is a very crude estimate.
As soon as I took the pastry out of the packet I immediately noticed a difference to what I was used to. The pastry had an almost grey tinge to it and seemed to be very wet and sticky. I had to use a lot of flour to stop the pastry sticking to the surface of the table where I was working with it.
I also thought that the pastry was very thick. So thick in fact that i actually had to roll it out some more. Considering this is a product which has the selling point of being ready rolled this felt a little ridiculous. The whole point of people buying this product was to avoid the faff of having to roll the pastry out for themselves and so to end up having to do it anyway was a little disappointing and made the whole product seem a little pointless. It may seem like I am being a little dramatic but it just felt like one big inconvenience. The one upside to this was that it made the sheet of pastry a little bigger and so it stretched a bit further than I had previously thought it would.
Once cooked the pastry looked and tasted very similar to how Jus-Rol products had in the past, which was cause for great relief because I had been expecting disastrous results after everything I have written above. I know the finished product should be all that matters but all the extra hassle did make me feel slightly less excited about my baked goods than usual.
Finally, I think it is worth mentioning that this product has to be taken out of the fridge for at least half an hour before you use it. Although it does state this on the back of the packaging it wasn't something that I noticed until I came to use the pastry so it was a little annoying to have to find something else to do for a while and I think goes a long way to explain why I was so easily irritated by it later on. In all honesty, I am not entirely sure how essential it is to follow this instruction but seeing as this was my first time using the product I wanted to follow the directions exactly. I have heard of a few people being caught out by this so maybe this information needs to be made more prominent on the packaging.
Overall, I wasn't entirely impressed with this product. It is obviously designed to be a convenience product what with it being ready rolled and because of this you get a lot less actual pastry for your money. I don't mind paying a premium for convenience if the product is up to scratch but in this case it just isn't. To me it is madness to market a product as being ready rolled when in fact it is far too thick to be of any use and you still have to roll it out a bit yourself. I certainly won't be bothering to buy it again. Instead I will stick to the other products in the Jus-Rol range.
Still want to give it a try? This product is available in supermarkets but really varies in price depending on where you shop. You can pay from £1 up to about £2.40 for 320g. This product can be frozen as long as it is used within a month.
We bought this pastry for the first time this week to make our first batch of mince pies of the festive season. We've always used Jus-Rol before but never the ready rolled variety so I was really interested to see how it compared.
The pastry comes in a long rectangular box containing 320g and at Asda it was £1.50.
Packaging and Storage
The pastry comes refrigerated and had a use by date two weeks ahead. It can also be frozen, the box says if freezing, it should be used within a month. It can be defrosted either overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for 2.5 hours. The pack contains a single sheet which is rolled up with a blue sheet of cellophane to keep it from sticking to itself.
The one thing I didn't think to do was to read the instructions before I was ready to use it. The instructions say that you should take it out of the fridge 35 minutes before you need to use it, so I sat back down and made a brew while I waited the 35 mins. To be fair, it does give instructions for microwaving it on high for 10 seconds to achieve the same result.
Once I had given the pastry 35 mins, I unrolled it as per the instructions. I personally found the pastry to be a little thicker than I would have rolled it if I had used the unrolled variety, and was a little disappointed at the size (9.5" x 14"), I guess it would have made half a dozen mince pies (we'd bought a large jar of mincemeat containing enough for 72 pies!). I decided to roll the pastry out a bit further to make it go further and avoid having pies with very thick pastry. I hadn't really planned on getting the rolling pin out so it was a bit more of a faff than I had expected when I bought the ready-rolled variety, but I did manage to roll it out to 16" x 16" which made 12 mince pies.
Taste and texture
The pastry took about 20 minutes to cook in the (fan) oven at 180. The pastry browned nicely and crisped up beautifully and had a lovely buttery taste.
Having initially been disappointed at the amount of pastry in this pack, I was really pleased with the overall result. I would certainly use it again now that I know what to expect and can plan how much I need for the cooking I am doing.