Shortcrust pastry: a taste of home

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Nothing quite reminds me of home as much as the taste of shortcrust pastry. The crumbly, melt in the mouth texture never fails to make me nostalgic: memories of brightly colored jam tarts and pies filled with home grown fruit. Childhood favourites, baked by my Mother and on occasions my Grandmother. Happy times. To this day I have seldom tasted pastry as good as my Mum’s. For me, her rich, flaky pastry has no equal.

As a father and a cook, I now bake for my two girls: carrying on the tradition. Turning to my eldest, I ask her “Emmy, what’s your favourite?” She looks up with a mocking grin and answers “what do you think? JAM TARTS, what else!” Just like their Dad and their Grandpa before him, they’re crazy about jam tarts. Bite sized pastry cases filled with homemade strawberry jam. Simple, tasty and very ‘moreish’.


Hand-made or ready made?
These days, pastry can be bought ready made from the super market, just thaw and roll. What’s more, it’s very good. Perfect when you’re pushed for time. Never the less, I prefer to make my own. There’s something very satisfying about hand-made pastry. Working butter and flour together, the feel of the dough in your hands. I recomend trying it yourself. Not convinced? Then how about a compromise? Homemade, but not hand-made.

Easy shortcrust pastry
Making shortcrust pastry in a food processor, is easy to do, and you don’t have to worry about melting the pastry with warm hands. Even better your pastry is ready in minutes. Really you can’t go wrong. So here’s my shortcrust pastry recipe, for food processors. The addition of egg yolk makes the pastry richer and easier to handle.


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Ingredients for Shortcrust pastry:
Takes 10 minutes.

200 g (7 oz) Unsalted Butter, cubed
340 g (12 oz) Plain Flour
2 Egg Yolks
4 Tbsp of cold water
40 g (1.5 oz) Icing sugar (for sweet pastry)
1/8 Tsp of Salt

TIP
It is important to keep everything including your hands cold and to work quickly and carefully, ensuring that you don’t over work or stress the pastry. When rolling out the pastry be careful not to stretch the pastry as this will cause shrinkage when baking.

Method
Before starting ensure that your eggs, butter and water are all as cold as possible. It’s also a good idea to refrigerate both your mixing bowl and the blade off your mixer.

Sift the flour and sugar then add to your mixer, pulse once or twice to loosen the flour.
Now add the cold, cubed butter and using the pulse setting mix into the flour creating a fine breadcrumb consistency. In a jug whisk the cold egg yolks with 4 table spoons of ice cold water. Slowly and continuously pour the egg mixture into the flour while using the mixer’s pulse setting until the dough just starts coming together (its important not to over mix).

Empty the dough into a cold mixing bowl and then using your hands bring the dough together into a ball. The pastry can be used straight away and then refrigerated for 30 minutes before baking. Alternatively wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate until needed.

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Comments

  1. Very good pastry nice and short delicious.

  2. Yum, those look delicious! What lucky daughters you have.

  3. Hi Iain, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve shared this recipe of yours (with a couple of links back to your wonderful blog) on my recent post ‘Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart’. It’s such a deliciously ‘short’ pastry that works so well with all manner of fillings! Please let me know if you’re not okay with this… Cheers, Margot

    • Of course not. Very happy that it works for you. Your tarts on Facebook looked lovely. Thanks for letting me know how the recipe worked.

  4. Happy New Year
    Excellent presentation and photo. I love this post!

    • Happy New Year to you Liz and thank you for the kind words. Pastry is really one of my favorite things to bake as I said very much a family tradition,

Trackbacks

  1. […] shortcrust pastry recipe from a British/Dutch blog named ‘My Foodtopia’ – please see link to pastry recipe. It made enough pastry for the rhubarb tart, as well as a dozen little Strawberry Jam Tartlets […]

  2. […] Link here to a wonderful recipe that I use for shortcrust pastry on ‘My Foodtopia’ […]

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