Shortcrust pastry

  • Total Time

    25m
  • Makes

    1
  • Skill Level

    Easy
  • Dietary Needs

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A basic recipe for delicious shortcrust pastry. Ideal for pastry cases, jam tarts and christmas mince pies! Don't forget to freeze any unused leftovers for another baking day.

Method

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve high above the bowl so the flour gets a good airing.

  2. Cut the cold butter into small pieces then sir it into the flour using a knife.

  3. Rub the fat into the flour – dip your fingertips into the flour and gently rub the little pieces of butter between the tips of your thumbs and fingers so that they flatten and gradually mix into to flour. As you do this keep lifting your hands up above the rim of the bowl as this will let air get to the flour and keep the mixture cool as you rub in.

  4. Keep rubbing in as lightly as you can until you cannot see any more bits of butter and the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Try to do the rubbing in as quickly as possible as the longer you are touching the butter the hotter it will become and your mixture may become greasy and sticky. If this happens just put the bowl in the fridge for 5 minutes and then continue.

  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cold water over the mixture and quickly mix it in with the knife. The pastry will start to come together in small lumps. If there are any dry bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl sprinkle over a tiny bit more water and mix again. It is very important not to add too much liquid as the pastry will be sticky and difficult to roll out, and when it is cooked the pastry will be tough and hard.

  6. Use your hand to bring the pastry together in a ball, this is easiest if you use a wiping motion and wipe all the little bits up into one big ball. The dough should feel like plasticine - neither too hard and too soft.

  7. Tip it out onto a floured work surface and knead it for a second or two just to bring into a smooth ball.

  8. Wrap the pastry in a piece of cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  9. Take the pastry out of the fridge, unwrap it from the cling film and set it on the floured work surface.

  10. Flour your hands and the rolling pin. Pat the dough down a little so the surface is flat.

  11. Use the rolling pin to roll the pastry away from you in gentle strokes, pressing down with it gently as you go.

  12. After every two or three strokes give the pastry a quarter turn – this will ensure you have a round of pastry rather than a long thin strip.

  13. Keep rolling until the pastry is the required thickness – generally the smaller the tin you are lining the thinner the pastry should be.

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