Making Shortcrust Pastry
This is the easiest pastry to make. It is a versatile pastry as it can be used for both savory and sweet dishes. Shortcrust pastry is a mixture of flour - usually all purpose/plain flour and a fat, either butter, lard or a mixture of both. These are bound together with either cold water or with egg for a richer pastry.
Pastry Calculator - work out how much pastry to make
Golden Rules for Making Pastry
- There is an old saying that cold hands make good pastry. The first golden rule of making shortcrust pastry is keep the ingredients, the bowl and the hands as cool as possible.
- In the US, mix equal quantities of all-purpose flour with cake flour to create a lighter pastry.
- Sieve the flour to add extra air and lightness to the pastry.
- Work quickly, this keeps the pastry cool and prevents the gluten in the flour developing too quickly – which will make the pastry too elastic and difficult to roll, cause shrinkage, and create a tough end result.
- Handle as little as possible. Too much handling will make the fat soft and the pastry greasy.
- Always wrap the pastry dough in saran wrap/clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes if possible.
- Chill again after rolling out to prevent shrinkage in the oven.
- Roll pastry on a cool surface (a marble slab is perfect), dusted with flour.
- Lightly dust the rolling pin also with flour to prevent sticking.
- For a crisp base on tarts and pies always cook on a preheated baking sheet in the oven.