Shortcrust pastry is used for savoury dishes such as pies and pastries. It is even suitable for freezing, though not longer than 3 months. This fool-proof shortcrust pastry recipe is so easy and simple to make, you will never use another pastry recipe for your pies or desserts.
The secret of success with this pastry is to avoid using too much liquid, which will make the pastry sticky resulting in a dry crust. The pastry should be just moistened. You want that delicious super flaky crisp crust which is inviting with every mouthful!
There really is no need to be afraid of making pastry. It can be made either by hand or with a food processor. Shortcrust pastry is easy to make and it is one of the most versatile pastries as it can be used for both savoury and sweet dishes.
- Keep Your Hands Cool: There is an old saying that cold hands make good pastry. The golden rule of making shortcrust pastry is keeping the ingredients, the bowl and the hands as cool as possible. When the pastry mixture becomes too warm the result is a greasy and/or heavy dull finished pastry crust. Run your hands under cold water before starting to mix pastry.
- Keep Your Ingredients Cool: If the butter or lard warms up too much, then pop it in the refrigerator from time to time.
- Work Quickly: Working quickly makes lighter pastry as the butter doesn’t have time to get too warm, making the pastry greasy and heavy.
- Blind Bake: if you are using quite a liquidy filling mixture, blind baking the bottom casing before filling it is best for a nice crispy base.
To prevent the bottom pastry from becoming soggy, the bottom half needs to be partially cooked before adding moist fillings. This process, known as blind baking, seals the surface and results in a crisp pastry case.
- Line the base and sides of an uncooked pastry case with non-stick baking paper. Fill with uncooked rice or dried beans and spread evenly on top of the baking paper. This stops the pastry base rising during cooking. Place on a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven at 220C for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the pastry case from the oven and remove the baking paper with rice or dried beans. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the pastry case) or until lightly golden. You can also just add your filling and the top half of the case and bake as per normal.
Fool-Proof Shortcrust Pastry
- 500 ml All-purpose flour
- 2 ml Salt
- 125 grams Cold Butter unsalted
- 125 ml iced water
- 5 ml lemon juice or brandy (for richer flavour)
- Sift flour and salt together in a bowl
- Cut butter into small pieces and rub into the flour with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add in water and lemon juice into dry ingredients and make a stiff dough. Knead well.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove from the fridge. Place dough on a floured surface and divide into tqo equal halves. Roll out dough on the floured surface to a thickness of 3 mm, or to the size of your 23cm baking dish
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
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