Monday, 21 May 2012

Basic Skills: Shortcrust Pastry

After making shortcrust pastry for the first time in ages, I thought I'd share the recipe with you as part of my Basic Skills posts. This batch was really successful; resulting in a crisp, rich pastry case for my Spinach, Pea and Broad Bean Tart.

You will need: 

8 oz of flour 
4 oz of butter (cut into cubes and at room temperature) 
Pinch of salt 
3 tbsp of milk
1 egg

1) Sieve the flour into a large bowl, and add a pinch of salt.  Make a hole in the centre of the flour, crack the egg into it and scatter the cubes of butter around the edge
2) Add up to three tablespoons of milk and then start working all the ingredients into dough. Work the dough for about three minutes, roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and leave chill in the fridge.
3) This is ideal for both sweet and savoury tarts. Just roll out on a lightly floured surface (make sure your hands are cold to prevent getting into a sticky mess). Cover your (lightly greased) pie dish in it, patch up any holes so your filling doesn't escape. Lightly prick the case all along the bottom with a fork.

4) To blind bake your case, tear off a large square of greaseproof paper and place on top. Fill you case with baking beans or failing that dried peas or lentils or whatever else you can lay your hands on. I've seen Heston use pennies so, after checking it was safe, I used teaspoons. I'm hoping to invest in some porcelain baking beans soon. Bake in the oven for 20mins

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