Back to Basics – Shortcrust pastry

If the thought of making pastry from scratch sounds a lengthy and difficult task then read on! (Hint: it really isn’t!) Today I am going to show you how to make a very easy and versatile shortcrust pastry, and I promise you do not need any Michelin stars to get this one right.

As part of the “Back to Basics” feature, this is all about how to make shortcrust pastry. Just be sure to follow the quantities and method below carefully and you will be on your way to heavenly pastry in no time.

 

You will only need a few simple ingredients for the pastry. If you do a bit of research you will see that shortcrust pastry recipes can vary quite a bit – most should have twice as much flour as butter, some use eggs or milk instead of water (this makes a richer pastry), and others include sugar for a sweet shortcrust pastry. I have kept this recipe simple and it can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.

This particular recipe will make enough pastry to line a 20cm pie dish, with a little bit leftover. You can use your shortcrust pastry to make a home made steak or chicken pie. Or impress everyone with your made-from-scratch quiche, lemon meringue or fruit pie. (Watch the blog for a scrumptious apple pie recipe coming soon!) The dough can also be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to three days, or it can be frozen for three months.

Cook’s tip: I have included instructions below on how to make the pastry by hand, but for a really speedy shortcrust you can also use a food processor.

 

SHORTCRUST PASTRY

  • Servings: Makes 450g
  • Print

  • 250g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125g butter, cubed (room temperature)
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water

1.) Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and mix.

2.) Add the butter. Use a knife to cut the cubes into the flour until most of the butter is incorporated.

3.) Use your fingertips to finish rubbing the butter into the flour. Work quickly and gently, and lift your fingertips out of the bowl as you rub to help incorporate air into the flour. Do this until the mixture is crumbly but don’t worry if there is the odd lump as you want to avoid over-rubbing.

4.) Add most but not all of the water, then use a knife to cut the liquid in. Continue until the dough starts coming together, then use your fingertips to finish forming the dough. Add additional water if needed. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

5.) Shape the dough into a disc, this will make rolling it out easier later on. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap (or pop into a freezer bag) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. Resting the dough is important as it reduces the chances of shrinkage during baking.

 
 

3 thoughts on “Back to Basics – Shortcrust pastry

  1. Hi Muriel. Try 9oz flour, 4.5 oz butter with a pinch of salt and the water. (As long as your ratio of flour to butter is 2:1 you should be fine!) Oven temperature will depend on the dish you are making but will probably be between 350-400 degrees fahrenheit. Enjoy!

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