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This homemade shortcrust pastry recipe can be used for either a sweet or savory recipes, and can be further enriched by the addition of cream instead of iced water.
Shortcrust pastry is one of many types of pastry that can be used as a base for sweet and savory tarts and pies. If you have never made your own pastry from scratch then I recommend that you try this easy dough recipe without yeast for your first attempt.
Sometimes it may be more convenient to purchase ready rolled sheets or blocks of pastry as it is not always practical to make the pastry myself when I want to make a pie or tart at short notice. For those occasions I always keep ready rolled butter shortcrust or puff pastry in the freezer.
However, the taste of a commercial pastry does not come close to the pastry you can make yourself. Store bought pastry may contain butter, but also a lot of other additives.
Types of pastry
- Shortcrust pastry: this includes Pâte à foncer (with egg and cream), Pâte brisée (more butter), Pâte sucrée (more sugar), Pâte Sablée (creaming method).
- Hot Water Flaky butter pastry
- Choux pastry
- Puff pastry
- Rough puff pastry
How to make rich shortcrust pastry
- Typically shortcrust pastry has double the amount of flour to fat.
- All the ingredients and the utensils should be cold to ensure that the butter doesn’t melt into the flour and become pasty.
- You can make this pastry in a food processor or by hand. The cold butter is cut or pulsed into the flour to form a loose mixture with small butter nubs that will heat and release steam during baking to give the flaky crispy tart pie crust.
- My version is a shortcrust pastry with egg and a cold liquid is added to bind them together. The liquid can be ice cold water or cream.
- The pastry must be rested and chilled before being rolled out for use.
- You can make this shortcrust pastry sweet by adding sugar as indicated in the recipe.
Shortcrust pastry filling ideas
- Veal Bacon and Gruyere tart.
- Smoked salmon tart.
- Traditional South African Milk Tart.
- Apple tart, pie or galette.
- Pineapple tart.
- 225 grams cake flour
- 125 grams cold butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp cream use iced water if you prefer a less rich pastry
- 45 ml castor sugar for sweet tart pastry
- Ensure that all the ingredients are very cold before starting.
- Pulse the butter, flour (and sugar if making a sweet pastry) in a food processor until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Alternately, rub in the cold butter with two knives or a pastry cutter. Try not to use your hands as it will warm up the butter.
- Add the egg and cream or iced water and mix until just combined.
- Bring the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disk on a piece of cling wrap. This makes it easier to roll into a round shape later.
- Chill and rest the pastry for about 30 minutes before use.
- Switch on the oven and pre-heat to 200 degrees celcius.
- Roll out the pastry and line a tart pan ensuring that the pastry overlaps the sides a bit as it may shrink during baking if not rested enough. I chilled it again for another 10 minutes before baking.
- Prick the base and line with parchment paper and baking beans or beans, and bake blind for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking beans and bake for another five minutes. Be careful not to get a burn as you may drop the beans and damage the tart case.
- For sweet shortcrust pastry add the sugar to flour before pulsing or cutting in the cold butter.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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