What is a cartouche?
In culinary terms, a cartouche is a round piece of parchment or grease-proof paper (not waxed) that covers the surface of a stew, soup, stock or sauce which helps reduce evaporation, ingredients on the top drying out by keeping them submerged, and, preventing the formation of a skin.
It is also used to describe what you line the pastry with when baking blind, or line a cake tin prior to pouring in cake mixture.
If you remember to make one before you start cooking this is an advantage. Draw around the top of your saucepan on your paper, cut out circle. If you forget to do this either estimate or use a plate as a template. It does not matter if it is a bit scrunched at the edges.
Use the tin as a template and cut out a circle/square from you chosen paper. I always grease my tin before puting the cartouche in the base. You can also line the sides if you think your mixture will be very sticky. I take a length of paper, just a bit taller than my tin. Fold a 2cm margin along it’s length. Cut the fold at regular intervals (2cm into the length). This then enables the lenth to go around your tin without puckering. If lining the sides I line the base before the sides and then again after the side covering, this covers the cuts.
Take a square of chosen paper, which is bigger than the tin you are lining. Fold it in half, then in quarter (so you have a square again). Keeping the middle point , fold again and again, you should have a sort of V shape. Hold this over your tin. Tear off the wide end so it is just slightly larger than you tin. You should have a circle. Scrunch the paper so it lines the pastry. Place some dried beans, lentils or rice on top of the cartouche , fill to top of tin. Place in oven. After about 10 – 15 minutes the pastry should look set. Remove cartouche and prick bottom. return to oven until pastry looks a light golden colour and cooked through.