How to make shortcrust pastry


Ok, to start with, if you've never made pastry before you really have no idea how easy it is and what a waste of money buying pre-made pastry is. Well, until now that is!

By the way, I only made my own pastry this time last year so I'm not an expert by any means...but seriously, if I can do it, Mrs Disastrous, then so can you.

First off, all you really need to know is that for shortcrust pastry the proportion of flour to fat is 2:1, or twice the amount. Whatever weight of pastry your recipe calls for use that weight of flour and half of fat. (Plus a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of water of course!)

To make 450g (16oz) I'll use:

  • 450g (16oz) of plain flour
  • 110g (8oz) of butter or margarine (I tend to use baking spread as it mixes well and is much friendlier on the purse!)
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 - 8 tbsp of chilled water
This is enough to make 36 small pies (such as mince pies..YUM!) or 2 large pies (such as cherry?....oooh I have cherries in a tin ready to be used...DOUBLE YUM!)

Ok lovelies, first step, go put a glass of water in the fridge ready for when you need it. You'll appreciate having it already chilled unless you have a man slave to bring you chilled water...or a cooler at home, either one is fine. Ok, stop daydreaming.

Next weigh out your flour and then add your fat in chunks. It should be diced, but quite frankly my dear, who has the time? I just cut it into chunks and chuck it in when I've weighed it.

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. You can do this with a mixer if you didn't overload it last week to the point that it blew up. (joy!)

You should have breadcrumbs yes?

Now you want to get your glass of chilled water back out of the fridge and sprinkle on the 6 - 8 tbsp evenly. Apparently if you sprinkle it unevenly it can lead to blistering when you cook the pastry.
Stir the water in with a round bladed knife until the mixture starts to stick together in large clumps. This is generally where I cheat think smart and get the hand mixer out with the dough hooks on.

Mixer with dough hooks. I tried to think of something witty to add in there but it just wasn't happening.

So keep mixing until it looks like this. There are larger clumps and it looks a bit ..urm, can I say stringy? Ok, let's say stringy. This is when you want to rid yourself of machinery and get stuck in.

This is the same mixture with just a few seconds of pulling it together. The dough should stick pretty well into one ball but this one needed a touch more water.

Once it's all mixed and in a nice doughy ball of pastry knead it for a few seconds. At this stage don't worry about it not being a brilliant consistency or all mixed etc, that'll come once it's been chilled and you're ready to roll out.

Wrap your pastry in cling film and pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can freeze it at this point if you'd like to keep it for future use but I find mine never lasts that long ;)

That's it, you're ready to roll out on a lightly floured surface. Try to use cold hands for handling pastry and as little extra flour as possible.

Samantha xx

At home with Mrs H

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  1. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Mrs. Delightful

  2. Thanks so much for this!!!

    Thanks for linking up to Serenity Saturday Link Party, hope to see you there again this week

    Natasha xx


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