Basic techniques: Shortcrust pastry
by Lovefood Team | 12 September 2012 | 0 commentsTweet
Golden flaky pastry is one of life's pleasures. It's also really easy to make. We've trawled the internet for you to find out the best way to do it.
First off, you need to decide if you’re going to make your shortcrust pasty using a food processor or by hand, as the technique for each is slightly different.
What not to do
Don’t overwork the mixture, either with your hands or with the blades of the food processor - you’ll melt the butter and the resulting pastry won't be flaky. Take your time and treat it gently.
Delia’s hand method
Delia says the butter must be at room temperature for her hand-made method. She also favours using 50/50 butter and lard (this is also the favourite combination of my Granny – Ed.) The rest of Delia’s method is here.
Gordon’s chilled food processor method
The Big G makes his shortcrust in a food processor, and ensures that everything is chilled right down.
Healthy versions and other options
Here’s a video for a ‘healthy’ pastry; though surely part of the joy of pastry is the fat? Once you’ve got the basics sorted, you can tweak the dough by adding other flavourings. Dan Lepard has some great tips including adding cheese or mustard to the dough mix.
Dig out the rolling pin, though if you don’t have one a wine bottle works well (you can chill it too). As for how thick to roll it... well that depends on what you’re covering. The sweary Scot aims for a thickness of a £1 coin, which we think is about right.
Blind baking means partly cooking the pastry case before putting in your filling. This means you don’t get the dreaded soggy bottom. You don’t need expensive baking beads – though they are good –, but baking paper is a must. There’s a how to blind bake guide on Taste.com.au, and BBC Good Food has a step by step photo guide too.
Tell us your tips
Which method do you prefer? Have you got any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments section below.