What do your favourite tart, that utterly delicious quiche and an incredibly moreish lemon meringue pie all have in common? Shortcrust pastry… (and the fact that they all go super well with a cup of tea)!
The truth is that, while fillings are pretty important, with any of those delicious treats, it all comes down to the pastry; quite simply, if the pastry is great, you can’t go wrong. Read on to find out how to rustle up perfect homemade shortcrust pastry with just 4 ingredients in only 3 steps…
Before you begin baking, here are 8 pastry-making tips:
- If there are any cracks in your pastry after you’ve baked it, simply brush with a little beaten egg and pop it back in the oven for a further 5 minutes to seal.
- When making a savoury pie, add a hit of flavour to your pastry by mixing in ½ tsp English mustard powder or ½ tsp paprika.
- Make it gluten-free by replacing the flour with a gluten-free brand and adding an egg and 1 tsp xantham gum. You’ll need 35–50ml cold water.
- Make it dairy-free by swapping the butter for 75ml coconut oil, olive oil or canola oil.
- Chilling pastry lets the gluten rest and prevents cracking. Even gluten-free pastry needs to chill so it can be rolled out easily.
- Leftover pastry can be frozen, or use it up by making jam tarts for the kids.
- If you want sweet shortcrust pastry, add 75g castor sugar and replace the lard with more butter.
- What’s better than pastry? Cheesy pastry! Add 2 tbsp grated cheese to the flour and use an egg instead of water to bring it together for an indulgent twist.
Homemade shortcrust pastry recipe
- 250g flour
- Pinch of salt
- 65g butter, cubed
- 65g lard, cubed
Step 1: Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, rub the fat (butter and lard) into the flour, crumbling with your fingertips, lifting the mixture as you go.
Step 2: Add 2 tbsp very cold water and pulse again, or stir in with a knife by hand. Gradually add enough water to bring the dough together — not too much or the pastry will be tough.
Step 3: Empty the dough onto a sheet of cling wrap, bring together in a ball and rest for at least 30 min in the fridge.
Right, so now you have your shortcrust pastry dough, what now? While the options are endless as to the delicious treats that you can make (you can freeze the dough for later use, too), it can’t hurt to know how to prep the base of a tart.
How to blind bake shortcrust pastry
Remember to take your time with this; the neater the finish, the better.
Step 1: Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to half a centimetre thick and line your tin. Chill for at least 15 min. Heat the oven to 200°C. Put a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Step 2: Prick the base all over with a fork, then line the pastry case with a sheet of baking parchment or foil.
Step 3: Fill with baking beans (or use uncooked rice or beans). Put the tin on the hot baking tray and cook for 15 min, then lift out the paper and bake for a further 5 to 10 min.
Now that you know how to make shortcrust pastry, get baking!