There are some basic recipes that you can’t do without, and shortcrust pastry is one of them. It is also fun to make and easy. Try it. You will need this for all kind of recipes so take note. The source of inspiration is this book again: “Good Housekeeping Cookbook ” 1992.
- 175 g (6 oz) plain white or wholemeal flour
- pinch of salt
- 75 g (3 oz) butter
- 3-5 tbsp cold water
- Mix the flour and salt together in a bowel. Cut the fat into small pieces and add it to the flour.
- Using both hands, rub the fat into the flour between finger and thumb tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (I love this part!)
- Add the water, sprinkling it evenly over the surface. Stir it in with a round-bladed knife until the mixture begins to stick together in large lumps.
- With one hand, collect the mixture together and knead lightly for a few seconds to give a firm, smooth dough. The pastry can be used straight away, but is better allowed to “rest” for about 30 minutes. It can also be wrapped in cling film and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.
- To roll out: sprinkle a very little flour on a working surface and the rolling-pin, not on the pastry, and roll out the dough evenly in one direction only, turning it occasionally. The ideal thickness is usually about 0.3 cm (1/8 inch). Do not pull or stretch the pastry. When cooking shortcrust pastry, the usual oven temperature is 200-220°C (400-425 °F), mark 6-7.
- Baking blind is the process of baking a pastry case without the filling – essential if the filling is to be uncooked or if it only requires a short cooking time. First shape the pastry into the baking tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork. For large cases, cut a round of greaseproof paper rather larger than the tin. Use this to line the pastry and weight it down with some dried beans, pasta or rice. Alternatively, screw up a piece of foil and use that to line the base of the pastry case.
- Bake the pastry at the temperature given in the recipe for 10-15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and paper or foil lining and return the tin to the oven for a further 5 minutes to crisp the pastry. Leave the baked case to cool and shrink slightly before removing it from the tin. (The baking beans can be kept for use again). For small cases, it is usually sufficient to prick the pastry well with a fork before baking.
- Baked unfilled pastry can be kept for a few days in an airtight container.