Seriously, there is no need to fear making shortcrust pastry – there are those who make out it is difficult, I have no idea why. The truth is, it is simple just follow a few hints and tips to help you on your way.
Shortcrust pastry is merely flour, fat, cold water and perhaps a pinch of salt or a little sugar. That is it. So what can go wrong? If you are new to making the pastry, then have a read of the hints and tips section here. Otherwise, crack on with this recipe. I have been using it for years, and it rarely lets me down.
200g plain flour
Pinch of salt
110g butter or a 50/50 mix of butter and lard
2 tbsp cold water
Now is the Time to Choose – Hand or Machine
It is up to you but I more often use a food processor or my Thermomix. A machine makes short work of the pastry and prevents the mixture getting too hot. The dangers are over mixing the pastry in a machine is it can also heat it up, or over whizzing it in a processor makes it too crumbly to bind together.
Hand making though is lovely if you have the time, apply a light touch and keep your hands, bowl and ingredients as cold as you possibly can.
Using a large, clean, cold mixing bowl, sift in the flour then add the butter and salt. Gently rub the mixture between your fingers to incorporate the fat into the flour, lifting as you rub to add a little air for a light pastry. You are done when the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the cold water a little at a time and using a cold knife stir to bind the dough together. Do not over mix. Add more water as needed.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 15 minutes, longer if you can.
Place the flour, butter and salt into the bowl of the processor.
Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs as above, this will happen quickly. With the motor running add the water a little at a time and the instant the pastry starts to bind, stop the motor. Tip the pastry onto the work surface and lightly bring together and wrap in cling as above.
And that is it because once the pastry has rested, it is ready to use in all your favourite recipes. There’s a few of mine below to get you started.
This recipe makes 300g enough for a regular sized pie or flan, or at least 12 jam tarts or mince pies.
A Few Recipes for Your Pastry:
Credit: © Elaine Lemm