Shortcrust pastry is an awesome pastry – extremely simple to make and equally at home with sweet and savoury fillings. Made well, it is light and crisp and delicious. It takes minutes to rustle up and uses only four ingredients (and two of those are water and salt…) so there is no excuse not to give it a go!
The trick is to keep the pastry as cool as possible and to avoid over-handling. The best way to do this is to use a food mixer and make sure the butter and water are chilled. If you don’t have a food mixer, a good (albeit unpleasant) tip is to run your hands under cold water before handling the pastry – this is one of the only times my perennially-cold hands are actually a good thing!
Basic shortcrust pastry
Makes 180g pastry – enough to line an 18cm or 20cm tin
– 120g plain flour
– 60g butter, chilled
– pinch of salt
– 2-3 tablespoons cold water
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry mixture. Rub the butter into the flour with a food mixer (I use the beater attachment starting on the minimum speed and gradually increasing to a medium speed) or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Do not overwork it – it will get greasy and tough!
Add the water, a dash at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball (mixing either in a food mixer or with a knife). Tip: Add a small amount of liquid at a time to avoid sticky pastry – sticky pastry does not roll out well…
Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (this makes it easier to roll out).
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.