It started in the supermarket. I fell in love with a box of the teeniest, tiniest, most perfect little pastry cases ever. Until I looked at the price. $2.99 for eight? That's highway robbery! Tell 'em they're dreaming! It would have cost them a few cents to make those! Granted, they were surrounded by swathes of ridiculous packaging, but as this was not edible and was going to become landfill, I resented paying for this.
So I got to thinking about how to make them myself.
Frozen shortcrust pastry was a fail. My fingers were too clumsy, they were difficult to form. They were so tiny I couldn't blind bake them (they were barely an inch across) so when they went in the oven, they puffed up, making the holes where the filling should go even smaller than they were. They were also rather lopsided and very... crude and rustic. Not at all like the perfectly formed, absolutely symmetrical overpriced tartlet cases languishing some 10 km away in the supermarket.
Second experiment: spring roll pastry. Cut to size, two - three layers, in my mini muffin tin. Fail! Too thin, too brittle, very, very fragile.
Third experiment: won ton skins. I bought two types, one slightly thicker than the other. I tried with the thicker skins. Some success! Though the edges browned way before the bottoms had cooked. This could have been because I used silicone mini muffin cups (my mini muffin tin is prone to sticking). What was brown was lovely and crisp, but not like pastry... hard to describe. A little like fortune cookies, only not sweet, and harder. Also need to work on the shaping of them. They looked a bit like amoebas (amoebae?) on some kind of psychedelic drug binge! One other thing is that you can't squish the won ton pastry together in the same way that you can with regular pastry dough.
Next, I'm going to try the thinner won ton skins... and maybe some soft bread that has been rolled flat...
My biggest challenge is to find a way to mould them so that they're at least even... I know that the ones in the shop would have been formed by a machine, but there must be a way for me to at least approximate this!
I found some tiny tartlet tins on ebay, I think they were swedish... but they were all silver and shiny and fluty, and I could see myself prying flakes of pastry out of them and swearing like a pirate despite greasing them well, because somehow I'm very unlucky about getting those sorts of things to not stick to whatever I'm trying to cook in them.