Homemade shortcrust pastry
Whilst ready-made pastry is widely available, there may be times when you want to make your own. Ready-made pastry is frozen and if you are in a hurry, it is quicker to make your own than wait for the frozen to de-frost.
- 250 g plain flour, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon icing sugar
- 6 g salt
- 125 g cold butter, cut into small chunks and chilled
- About 75 ml iced water
- Mix the flour with the icing sugar and salt in a bowl and add the chunks of butter.
- If making the pastry manually, cut the butter into the flour with cold scissors, until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs.
- To ensure that the butter has been sufficiently incorporated, shake the bowl back and forth. Any large lumps will come to the surface and you can cut them in again.
- Add the cold water, not all at once, stirring with a fork to mix it in.
- Keep adding the water until you can form the mixture into a compact and non sticky ball, which will hold together.
- Wrap in cling-film and place in the fridge for half-an-hour before use.
- This can be made in a food processor, in which case process the flour, salt and butter together, using the pulse setting. Slowly add the water and the mixture should automatically form itself into a ball when enough water has been added. Do not over-process though, as it will make the mixture too warm. A stand mixer, if you have one, would be better than using a food processor.
Once the pastry has rested in the fridge, roll it out according to your recipe's instructions and add the other ingredients. However, I always put it back in the fridge at this stage for a further 30 minutes, before I put it into the preheated oven. I do this even with ready-made pastry.
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