Simply Shortcrust

I learnt how to make pastry a couple of years ago and was amazed at how easy it is.  You really can’t go wrong (unlike some of the experiences I’ve had making bread!). It’s so much tastier than shop-bought pastry and I actually find the process quite relaxing and therapeutic.  It also freezes well so I usually make extra and use it to make another quiche or fruit pie at a later date.  Here’s a quick recipe for shortcrust pastry, which is great for quiches and savory or sweet tarts or pies.

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This recipe makes enough for about two 20cm quiches or the base and top of a large pie (for example the ultimate warm and crumbly bramley apple pie!).  For Lentil, I usually use a 6cm flan case, which make 2-3 portions.

The what: 

270g plain flour

185g butter at fridge temperature and cubed

2 eggs

4 tbsp water

3 finger pinch of salt

The how:

Add the water to the eggs and beat with a fork.  Then place in the fridge until needed.  Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl.  Add the butter and using two ordinary place knives cut the butter, mixing it into the flour. until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Then gently rub the mixture through your finger tips, breaking it down further until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Make sure your hands aren’t too warm or they will start to melt the butter!  If this happens, place the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.

Next add about 5-6 tbsp of the egg/water liquid and stir with a knife.  Add the liquid slowly, checking the consistency. You want enough liquid for the pastry to come together into a single ball, but don’t want it to become too wet or it will stick to the counter and rolling pin when you try to roll it out. Wrap the pasty ball in clingfilm and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

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Sprinkle your counter top with some plain flour and rub some on your rolling pin.  Roll the pin up and down in one direction, but turn the pastry clockwise as you go to achieve an even base of about 1 cm thickness. Sprinkle more flour on the counter and pin as needed.  Roll one end of the pastry over the pin to help you lift it over your flan case. Then fit it into the case and using the pin, roll off any excess.

Cover the base with some baking parchment, add baking beans (or rice if you don’t have any beans) and cook in the oven at 180 degrees (or 200 non-fan oven) for about 15 minutes.  Then remove the beans/rice and baking parchment and cook for a further 5 minutes to dry it out.  If there are any holes in your pastry once you have removed the baking parchment, then touch these up with some of the excess pastry before returning to the oven.

Once the pasty is cooked, you are ready to add your filling!  You’ll find some suggestions under the “Recipes” tab.

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