Are you daunted by the prospect of making your own pastry? Many people are. Today I am going to show you how to make foolproof, Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry, that works for both sweet and savoury bakes.
Having been taught to make pastry from an early age, I wonder if the fear that surrounds making it is simply the fact that skills are not being passed down, through the generations. like they used to be.
Watching cooking programmes, where they actually portray the ‘art’ of pastry making as such a complicated process, it is understandable that some people are terrified and therefore never attempt it. Well I am with you today to show you how simple it is to make Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry, that will turn out beautifully every single time!
Firstly, just to reassure you, no kitchen machinery is used. Not even a food processor. To be completely honest, setting the food processor up, in my kitchen, takes longer than actually making the pastry by hand. I really can’t be bothered with the hassle. Instead the only two pieces of equipment I use are a dinner knife and pastry cutter.
If you haven’t seen or heard of a pastry cutter, this is what they look like!
They can be purchased inexpensively from Amazon or kitchenware shops. A quick glance on the Internet has assured me that the still cost £5 or under. Money well spent I’d say.
The simple key to making good pastry, every single time, is to work quickly, yet not rush and in doing so keep everything as cold as possible. Please, please do not become neurotic about it, as I have seen of some people.
From personal experience every time I am stressed, rushed or uptight about something, when I bake, it inevetiably goes wrong. Or at least isn’t my best baking. Making pastry whilst relaxed and knowing that the recipe is going to work, can make a whole world of difference.
Right that’s mindset and equipment sorted, next are ingredients. I use unsalted butter in all of my baking, simply because it tends to be better quality than salted and also allows me to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Plain flour and free range eggs are the other two ingredients to note.
The quantity of cold water added is a guide as different batches of flour, butter, the weather, can all affect how much water is needed to bring the dough together. Don’t panic I will walk you through every step.
You can make Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry 😉
Recipe: Make 900g/2lb Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry – enough to make 2 large quiche/tart cases.
400g/14oz Plain White Flour
200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – cold from the fridge and cut into cubes
1/4tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I use Maldon
2 Large Free Range Egg Yolks
Approx 180-200ml Cold Tap Water
- Into a large bowl add the flour, salt and cubed butter.
- Using the pastry cutter, push and twist it into the flour, rotating the bowl occasionally. Scrape any butter that has become stuck on the pastry cutter off using a regular dinner knife.
- Keep cutting the butter into the flour until it is about the size of peas.
- Note: the flour does not look like breadcrumbs. This is traditionally how pastry making has been taught, to rub, or cut into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. If you do this your pastry will be ok. However, if you leave pea sized pieces of butter in the flour you will end up with Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.
- Next add the 2 egg yolks into the centre of the mix.
- Add 150ml of cold tap water and stir the pastry using a regular dinner/butter knife.
- Continue adding water, in small amounts, 10mls, at a time, stirring with the knife until the pastry starts to come together.
- Now switch to using your hands. Create a claw-like figure with your fingers. Gently bring the dough together, adding a little more water as necessary, until it just holds together in a rough ball shape.
- Wipe the worktop surface with a clean, damp cloth, then lay over a large piece of cling film – the wet surface helps the cling film to stick and not move about.
- Tip out the ball of pastry onto the cling film.
- Wrap and shape into a large disc.
- The Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry now needs to be placed in the fridge for an hour to chill and relax – literally!
- Pop the kettle on and congratulate yourself on making Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry 😉
This recipe made enough pastry to bake a full sized quiche, a smaller deep tart and a Strawberry and Cream Filled Tart. Not bad for a few minutes of early morning pottering in the kitchen.
- Whilst the Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry is resting in the fridge, it is an ideal time to prepare the filling.
Making the Smaller Red Pepper Mushroom Ale Jelly Quiche:
- Deseed and slice half of a sweet red pepper. Slice 4-5 small button mushrooms.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a heavy based frying pan and gently sauté both the red pepper and the mushrooms, until cooked through. Set to one side.
Rolling out the Pastry:
- Remove the pastry from the fridge. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.
- Cut the pastry into 4 pieces for a smaller tart, cut in half when making a large quiche (see recipe).
- Shape one piece of the pastry into a ball.
- Roll out gently from the centre of the pastry to the edge. Ensure the pastry keeps moving by dusting underneath lightly with flower.
- Ideally the pastry should be about the thickness of a £1 coin – approx 1/4 inch.
Lining a Tin with Pastry:
- Loop the pastry around the rolling pin – this makes moving it easier and stops it stretching.
- Gently allow the pastry to loosely fill your tin, remove the rolling pin.
- Ease the pastry into the tin, if it is fluted be sure to press the pastry into each of the flutes avoiding stretching it.
- Roll your rolling pin over the top of the tin and it will cut the edge of the pastry perfectly. See the first picture at the top of this blog.
- Dock the bottom of the tin with a fork – this helps steam escape and creates a flat base.
- Place the tart tin back in the fridge for 30 minutes, this really helps the pastry keep it’s shape when being baked.
- Cut some baking parchment larger than the width of your tin.
- Scrunch up and then lay on top of the pastry in the tin. Fill the baking parchment with ceramic baking balls.
- Place the pastry lined tins onto a baking tray and put in a preheated oven at 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6. Bake for 15 minutes.
- After the baking time has elapsed remove the tin from the oven.
- Using the baking parchment, lift the baking balls free from the pastry lined tin.
- Place the baking balls in a heatproof bowl to cool.
- Put the tart tins back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes if using for a filled tart or quiche. If baking the tart shell until cooked, depending on size, bake for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
Making the Red Pepper Mushroom Ale Jelly Quiche:
- After the further 5 minutes bake, without the baking balls, remove the tart tin from the oven.
- Place the red peppers in the base of the tart. Next add a tablespoon of Ale Jelly. Then add the sautéed mushrooms.
- In a jug mix 4 large eggs with a tablespoon of milk. Add a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. Whisk all the ingredients together.
- Pour the egg mixture on top of the peppers and mushrooms. Fill until it is near the top.
- Carefully place the quiche in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The quiche is baked when the egg is set and feels firm to the touch. When baked there shouldn’t be any wobble to the egg filling.
- As soon as the quiche is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool. Serve warm for dinner/lunch. Cool completely for storing in the fridge, well wrapped in cling film.
Look at the gorgeous Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry crust. Deliciously light and buttery.
The Ale Jelly from Hawkshead Relish also works well with the earthy, meaty flavour of the mushrooms.
As you can see from the photos this recipe really does produce Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry. The pastry has such a delicious flavour of it’s own and becomes part of the dish, not just a carrier of other flavours.
Unused Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry can be kept wrapped in cling film, in the fridge for up to 3 days, or it can be frozen, wrapped in cling film and popped into a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Top Tip: Freeze any leftover pastry and after a while you’ll have enough for a recipe!
If you have enjoyed this Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry here are some other recipes you may like to try:
Phew, I know this has been a long post, but I really wanted to show you just how easy it is to make your own pastry. This recipe can be used for sweet and savoury dishes. I always make double and freeze half down, which effectively is what this recipe already is. Except I was recipe testing over a few days and made 6 different quiches!!!
If you have any questions regarding pastry, especially if you are making it for the first time, I am always happy to answer. Either leave a comment, or for a quicker reply send me a Tweet.
Have fun making and baking in your kitchens. Preparing for feasting over the bank holiday weekend.
Hawkshead Relish provided me with the Ale Jelly for this recipe. This is not a sposored post and I have not received payment for writing it. All opinions, view, photographs and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.Share