Shortcrust Pastry

Shortcrust pastry is often called the cook’s all-purpose pastry. It is easy to make if you follow the method below and ideal to line loose bottom flan tins for savoury tarts or quiches.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 cup (120 g) cake flour
  • ½ t (2,5 ml) salt
  • 4 T (60 g) butter, fridge temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 T (30 ml) cold water
  • 1 T (15 ml) brandy or vodka (optional)
Method

Sift the flour and salt twice and cut or rub in the butter to form coarse crumbs. Mix the egg yolk with cold water and brandy and add to the flour. Cut the liquid in with a small knife to form a lumpy mixture. Use your hands to gather and knead the mixture together until it forms a ball. Don’t add more water, simply keep working the dough lightly. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for at least an hour (in cold weather, it is best not to put it in the fridge, as the pastry can become too hard and brittle). Roll out to 1 cm thickness. Fold into thirds and roll out again to 2 mm thickness on a well-floured surface, using a floured rolling pin. (The preliminary rolling makes the dough much easier to handle).

Step-by-Step Instructions for lining a loose bottom pan or fluted flan dish:

  1. Trim: roll the pastry out about 6 cm bigger than the pan. Ease it gently into the sides of the pan – do not stretch it. Now trim the excess pastry about 2 cm away from the edge.
  2. Double over edge: double the excess pastry back on itself and tuck it in against the rim of the pan.
  3. Extend edge: using a ball of the left over pastry push the edge securely up against the sides so that it extends roughly 3mm above the rim of the pan.
  4. Paper patterns: take a square of baking paper and fold it four times into a tight triangle as illustrated. Trim off the uneven ends and snip about 5 cm deep into the straight side.
  5. Add beans: unfold the paper into the pan and push it flat down. The cut edges will fan out and take on the shape of the pan. Put pottery pastry weights, beans or rice on the paper. Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes.
  6. Brush with egg: lift out the paper with beans. Brush the inside of the half-baked pastry shell with a little beaten egg to waterproof it.
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