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How to Make Shortcrust Pastry Easily
Shortcrust pastry is versatile, easy to make and one of the most popular pastries used in recipes. It can be used make savory pies such as chicken and mushroom along with small sweet tarts such as jam or custard.
Recipes which are out there will usually ask for a set quantity of pastry such as 5 ounces or 400 grams dependent on size or number of pies. Following the guideline below the quantity should be no challenge.
The joy of this recipe is that dependent on the amount of pastry required the recipe can be altered to match. The recipe listed makes 8 ounces, using 8 ounces of flour. The fat content of the pastry must be half the amount of flour, hence 4 ounces total. However it is best to use a mixture of fat, so half lard and half butter/margarine, in this example 2 ounces of each.
If the recipe you were following asked for 400g of shortcrust pastry, that would mean using 400g of flour and 200g of fat. This would be 100g of lard and 100g of butter.
If a sweet pastry is required for a dessert for example then caster sugar can be added in addition to the flour. The amount is usually one eight (1/8) of the total flour, so in this recipe that is 1 ounce.
- 8 Ounces Plain Flour
- 2 Ounces Lard
- 2 Ounces Butter, Or Margarine
- 1 Pinch Salt, Omit if making sweet pastry
- 2 Tablespoons Cold Tap Water
- 2 Tablespoons Cold Tap Water
- 1 Ounce Caster Sugar, If making a sweet pastry
Tips for success!
Below are a few tips to follow to ensure that the recipe works well and ensures stress free pastry making
1. Weigh out all ingredients before you start. Have them all in separate containers in arms reach
2. The water used must be cold tap water and not too warm, the coolness of the water helps bind the pastry together quicker
3. When rolling out, ensure the surface you use is well floured, your rolling pin must be well floured too. Don't be afraid to add more if the pastry starts to stick at any time
4. Mix your dry ingredients together before rubbing in the fat. The fat must be cold and diced before use to make sure the pastry comes together well
5. You can use an electric mixer to make the pastry, however this runs a risk of overworking the pastry so care should be taken if using a mixer. Mixing should be stopped as soon as the ingredients have combined and the pastry is starting to form
- Cut all the fat into cubes and sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt. If making the sweet pastry then it is best to add the caster sugar at this point too.
- This is best done using your hands, rub in the fat into the flour using your fingertips.
- Once the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs add the cold water. Put the cold water in a cup, add using a dessert spoon at a time. Use a regular knife to cut through the mixture every time you add water. Eventually the mixture will start to bind together.
- Once the mixture has bound together, work slightly in the bowl until all combined and the sides of the bowl are clean. Be careful not to overwork the pastry as this can make the pastry tough when cooked
- Once combined and worked, wrap in shrink wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. If you are freezing the pastry then freeze at this stage. Make sure the pastry is fully defrosted before use.
- When chilled, roll out on a floured surface to recipe instructions.
Make your own pastry Yes or No?
How often would you make your own pastry or would you buy
Hope that you have enjoyed making this pastry. It can be adjusted to suit your requirements. Cocoa powder can be added with the flour to make chocolate pastry for a chocolate tart for example.
If adding any additional flavorings you need to think about when to add these. If they a dry, such as dried herbs these can be mixed with the flour beforehand. If you have wet flavorings these can be added either at the fat stage or the water stage dependent on how wet they are. If using something like crushed garlic this can be added with the butter. If your flavor is very watery add as you would the water until all your additional ingredient is added then top up with water until pastry is combined.