30 October 2011

Shortcrust Pastry

Mix of flour, salt, and butter
Crumbs formed after adding ice cold water
This looks dry but comes together with no further liquid
This dough was made with the softer Flora Buttery
Tip the dough in clingfilm and wrap
Flatten the dough ball and chill in the fridge
Shortcrust is supposed to be the easiest pastry to make. I've made it a few times myself now so I'll share with you what I've learned.

Made from Plain Flour and Butter, the texture should be quite crumbly and bake to a light golden brown. Salt, water, and sometimes egg is added to bind it all together. The salt can be replaced with caster or icing sugar if the pasty is to be used in a sweet dish. A basic starting point is 2 parts flour for every 1 part of butter.

If you are new to baking, and have yet to invest in a food processor, you can easily make this pastry by hand. Because the warmth of your hands will warm the ingredients you should make sure to keep to the chilling times.

Food processor (or mixing bowl and sieve), clingfilm, rolling pin.

You will want to use chilled butter so get that in the fridge the night before. You need iced water, so get a glass of water with an ice cube in it, stood in the fridge a short while before you get started.

200g plain flour
1 pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of ice cold water

In a food processor
Weigh the flour straight in to the main bowl of the food processor. There is no need to sift the flour. Add the salt. I recommend using the standard blade. Using the dough blade as in some of these photos doesn't get close enough to the edges. Pulse for a couple of seconds to mix.
Add the butter and pulse a little longer until the mix is like fine crumbs.
Add 2 tablespoons of iced water and mix further. The crumbs should quickly form a dough.

By Hand
Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, before rubbing in the butter by hand.
Add 2 tablespoons of iced water and mix further. The crumbs should quickly form a dough.

Tip the dough onto clingfilm. You should easily clean the bowl with any crumbs joining the dough. If the pastry is too dry, carefully add more iced water.

Wrap the dough in the clingfilm and flatten the ball to increase the surface area. I sit this on the metal base of a baking tin to further help heat transfer. Put this in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

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