Short crust pastry recipe

Shortcrust Pastry

Begin by sifting the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin.

Now add the lard and butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour.

Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible.

As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there.

Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and, finally, bring it together with your fingertips.

When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean. If this hasn’t happened, then using your fingertips, add a spot more water.

Now place the pastry in a polythene bag and leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.

How to roll pastry

Rolling to a round
Before the pastry is rested pat it into a round shape. Then place the rested dough on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin that is absolutely straight.

Lightly dust the pin with flour and rest it on the centre of the dough. Place the flat of your hands lightly on each end of the pin and begin to roll the dough backwards and forwards (don’t be tempted to roll from side to side), gently and evenly, re-dusting the pin and the surface very lightly with flour if you need to stop the pastry sticking.

Give the pastry quarter-turns as it expands and, provided you continue to roll backwards and forwards and not side-to-side, it will roll out into a round shape that will keep its shape and not shrink as it cooks.

Rolling oblongs or squares
As above, before resting pat the dough into the shape that you want.

Then after its rested just knock the sides gently with the rolling pin to keep it in the shape you want, give quarter turns – as for a round – and then square it up using the rolling pin to knock the edges into shape.

How To Make A Quick Basic Pie Crust, Shortcrust Pastry. Sweet or savory. Suitable for freezing before or after baking.

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How To Make A Quick Basic Pie Crust, Shortcrust Pastry. This is the easiest, quickest and probably the most popular of pastries to make than the richer pastries.

It can be used for both savory and sweet dishes, such as a quiche or a frangipane.

I’ve made this recipe for shortcrust pastry incredible simple, and you can choose to make it either by hand or using a food processor. I always make this shortcrust pastry by hand. it takes a matter of minutes and there’s less washing up and messing with equipment!

The technique is to lightly rub in the fat using your fingertips, and as with all pastry, you should work in cool conditions. You do need to make sure the butter is chilled. If you’re making this in the hot Summer months, I suggest you cut the butter in to small cubes and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes to get really cold.

The pastry, once baked is light, buttery and crispy. It’s a pure delight to eat and the beauty of this shortcrust pastry is that if you make a batch or two, you can freeze by simply wrapping in some plastic wrap. then when you want to use it, allow to defrost in the fridge and roll out as normal.

This recipe will be enough to cover an 11 inch or 28 cm flan dish. I often make 2 small tarts with one batch of pastry!

Once you’ve made your own pastry, you won’t go back to ready made shop bought stuff!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: Approx 20 – 30 min

Yield: 1 (see dish size)

INGREDIENTS

8 oz or 225 g plain flour
5 oz or 150 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
4 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar (if making sweet pastry)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt (if making savory pastry)
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp cold water

The quantity of pastry is enough to line a flan dish (including the sides) measuring 23 cm, 9 inches and cover the top.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven to 180 C, 375 F, Gas 5 (if the recipe requires BAKING BLIND the pastry)

2. Mix sieved flour, and sugar or salt (if using) in a large bowl. Add cubes of butter. The photo below shows ground pecans added to the mixture. (I was making a pie crust for our Caramel Pecan Butter Banana Pie recipe!)

3. Rub in fat using the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Aerate the flour by lifting (with your fingertips) the mixture above the bowl and allowing to fall back through the fingers.

4. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, make a well in the middle and start by adding the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of cold water.

Using a metal round-bladed knife, stir the mixture and combine well before adding a further tablespoon of water.

5. Once the mixture starts to go lumpy, use your hand to combine the mixture. Try not to handle the dough too much as it will lose its lightness and crumbliness once cooked.

Keep combining with your hand, adding a tiny bit of water as you go if necessary. Don’t worry at this stage if you think it’s too dry. Your instinct is to add lots more water, but trust me, DON’T! The more you mix it, the dough will come together. Be patient!

The ultimate goal is to have the mixture come together into a ball, your bowl should be completely cleaned from pastry, (i.e. it is not sticky and gluey), and the dough should be dry enough it doesn’t stick to your hands, and quite stiff.

Every brand of flour is different and absorbs liquid at different amounts, so it is difficult to be precise with how much water you will need so add a little at a time.

6. Once your dough is ready you can place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest, or just continue with your recipe for what you are cooking.

7. Shape the dough into a ball, or whatever shape your dish is. Roll lightly and try not to ‘overwork’ or roll too much as this will damage the structure of the pastry and you will lose the ‘shortness’ or crumbliness, plus all that air you were so busy incorporating when you were rubbing in the fat! Roll out the pastry thinly, around 1/2 cm in thickness.

To avoid too much rolling, handling and shaping, have your flan dish handy and place it on top of your pastry to check for size.

Cooking times will vary depending on what you are using the pastry for. As a rough guide, 8-10 minutes for something small, 20-35 minutes for larger pies, or until the pastry takes on a nice golden brown color. Follow the instructions on the recipe you are making!

We’d love to hear from you and what you thought of our Shortcrust Pastry recipe. Did you make any changes or add some other goodies? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

Here are a few delicious recipes using Shortcrust pastry for you to enjoy!

Lemon Frangipane

Traditional Egg Custard Tart

Tropical Coconut Pie

Easy Mushroom and Spinach Quiche

Easy Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz or 225 g plain flour
  • 5 oz or 150 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar, if making sweet pastry
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, if making savory pastry
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 180 C, 375 F, Gas 5 (if the recipe requires BAKING BLIND the pastry)
  2. Mix sieved flour, and sugar or salt (if using) in a large bowl. Add cubes of butter.
  3. Rub in fat using the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Aerate the flour by lifting (with your fingertips) the mixture above the bowl and allowing to fall back through the fingers.
  5. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, make a well in the middle and start by adding the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of cold water.
  6. Using a metal round-bladed knife, stir the mixture and combine well before adding a further tablespoon of water.
  7. Once the mixture starts to go lumpy, use your hand to combine the mixture. Try not to handle the dough too much as it will lose its lightness and crumbliness once cooked.
  8. Keep combining with your hand, adding a tiny bit of water as you go if necessary. Don’t worry at this stage if you think it’s too dry. Your instinct is to add lots more water, but trust me, DON’T! The more you mix it, the dough will come together. Be patient!
  9. The ultimate goal is to have the mixture come together into a ball, your bowl should be completely cleaned from pastry, (i.e. it is not sticky and gluey), and the dough should be dry enough it doesn’t stick to your hands, and quite stiff.
  10. Every brand of flour is different and absorbs liquid at different amounts, so it is difficult to be precise with how much water you will need so add a little at a time.
  11. Once your dough is ready you can place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest, or just continue with your recipe for what you are cooking.
  12. Shape the dough into a ball, or whatever shape your dish is. Roll lightly and try not to ‘overwork’ or roll too much as this will damage the structure of the pastry and you will lose the ‘shortness’ or crumbliness, plus all that air you were so busy incorporating when you were rubbing in the fat! Roll out the pastry thinly, around 1/2 cm in thickness.
  13. To avoid too much rolling, handling and shaping, have your flan dish handy and place it on top of your pastry to check for size.
  14. Cooking times will vary depending on what you are using the pastry for. As a rough guide, 8-10 minutes for something small, 20-35 minutes for larger pies, or until the pastry takes on a nice golden brown color. Follow the instructions on the recipe you are making!

Basic Shortcrust Pastry

Preparation

Handmade

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives to get a grainy texture and the butter is the size of peas. Gradually add the water, lifting and turning the flour mixture using a spatula to prevent a portion from becoming wetter than another. Add water if needed, a spoonful at a time, just until the mixture holds when pressed between your fingers. Form into two discs.
  2. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  3. On a floured work surface or between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch (3 to 4-mm) thick. Use the dough to make a pie with a top and a bottom crust or line two 9 to 10-inch (23 to 25 cm) pie plates.

In a food processor

  1. In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse for a few seconds at a time until the butter is the size of peas. Add the water and pulse again until the dough is just beginning to form. Add more water, if needed. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into two discs with your hands (this will make it easier to roll out). Proceed with steps 2 and 3 above.
  • Prepare Your Equipment and Ingredients: Gather together all your equipment and ingredients and weigh all of the ingredients. Preparing in this way means not only do you check you have everything, but also making the pastry is much quicker and easier with everything to hand.
  • Keep Your Hands Cool: There is an old saying that cold hands make good pastry. The golden rule of making shortcrust pastry is keep the ingredients, the bowl and the hands as cool as possible. When the pastry mixture becomes too warm the end 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 (on a hot day, for example), then pop it in the refrigerator from time to time.
  • Use a Cool Work Surface: Roll pastry on a cool surface (a marble slab is perfect), dusted with flour.
  • Work Quickly: Don’t dawdle when making pastry. Working quickly makes lighter pastry as the lard or butter doesn’t have time to get too warm, making the pastry greasy and heavy. This is another good reason to make sure you have assembled all your ingredients and equipment.
  • Rest, Rest, and Rest Again: Once the pastry dough is made it must be wrapped in plastic wrap or grease-proof paper and rested in the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes. Resting allows time for the gluten (proteins) in the dough to relax. If you attempt to roll the dough as soon as you have mixed it, it is like trying to roll a sheet of elastic. It will roll, but seconds later shrinks back. Likewise, once rolled, rest the pastry again. If you cook pastry that has been rolled and not rested it will shrink in the oven.
  • Use a Hot Oven: Always put pastry into a preheated, hot oven (425 F / 220 C / Gas 7). If the oven is too cool the pastry will melt rather than cook.
  • Keep the Bottom Crisp: No one wants a soggy bottom when their pastry is cooked. To ensure your tart or pie is crisp, place a heavy baking sheet in the oven while it is heating up, then place the tart or pie directly on the heated tray.