Shortcrust Pastry – the most useful and versatile pastry to know

Shortcrust pastry is probably the most useful and versatile pastry. If you get it right, it’s a deliciously light and crumbly pastry ideal for both sweet and savoury pies and tarts, from jam tarts to quiches.

The degree of ‘shortness’ (crisp crumbliness) in shortcrust pastry depends on the amount and type of fat and the way the pastry is handled. It features in my Beginners Pastry Half Day course.

Ingredients

  • 12oz plain flour (300g)
  • 3oz butter (75g)
  • 3oz lard (75g)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cold water (preferably from the fridge)

Method

Keep everything as cool as possible and work as quickly as you can.  

  • Preheat the oven to 180c fan 
  • Put the flour and the salt into the bowl (there is no need to sift)
  • Cut the butter and lard into cubes and add to the flour.
  • Using your fingertips, break the fat down into smaller pieces by rubbing it between your fingers. Let the flour and fat mix fall through your fingers, so that as much air as possible is incorporated.
  • When the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs, gradually add cold water and mix together with a cutlery knife.
  • As the pastry starts to bind together, use your hands to bring the dough fully together into a smooth dough.
  • It is now very important to rest the pastry, so cover it in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.
  • When ready to use, roll out the pastry thinly and use it to line a 23cm tart tin. Prick the bottom with a fork and line pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans
  • Bake the tart for 15 mins. Then remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 5-10mins.

Photos by Kate Bamber. https://www.instagram.com/katebamberphotographic/

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