There’s an art to making perfect shortcrust pastry, but by following some simple guidelines it should ensure that you have tender pastry every time.
Always measure and weigh out ingredients correctly and ensure that the fat to flour ratio is correct. A basic shortcrust pastry uses half the weight of fat to flour.
Always work in a cool environment – if it’s going to be a hot day make your pastry in the morning before the sun comes up.
Keep your ingredients chilled, allowing the fat to melt before cooking will make your pastry greasy and tough.
The rubbing in of the fat into the flour should be done quickly, a food processor can be used but make sure that you only process until it forms into crumbs.
Always add the correct amount of water, too much will result in a tough and chewy pastry while too little will make the texture crumbly and difficult to roll.
Allow the dough to rest before rolling out to avoid the pastry shrinking on cooking.
Take care when rolling out your pastry. Don’t stretch the pastry over your baking dish as again it will shrink on cooking. I always rest my pastry again after lining a pie dish before cooking.
400g of pastry is enough to line the base and sides of a 26cm flan dish or make the base and top of a 20-22cm pie.