Many people feel they can’t make pastry. Pastry can be fickle. I find that humidity and ingredients will affect the outcome of my pastry. Sadly humans can not combat humidity, however we can control our ingredients. For pastry use a good quality flour, I use Doves plain white or Marriages (my favourite) plain white. I prefer to use butter in my pastry, again the quality of your butter matters. I use butter from Upper Norton Jersey Farm, this works best. I always use a lightly salted butter. The water must be cold. Have a go. If yo are not happy with the result, email me with the details, and I will try to help you perfect shortcrust pastry.
If you are short of time, or do not want to have a go, there is no shame in buying ready made pastry. Jus-Rol is fine, but as a treat if you can get hold of Dorset pastry, it is divine.
250g butter, cold
100ml cold water (approx)
- Place the flour and salt into your food processor or in a bowl. I don’t sieve it, but you can if you like.
- Cut the butter into small cubes.
- Add to you food processor and blend until fine breadcrumbs. If making in a bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (rub don’t squeeze).
- Transfer the mixture into a bowl if you used a food processor. Make a well in the centre.
- Add 3/4 of the water. Different flours absorb different amounts of water, if it is a warmer day, then your pastry may absorb less water. You can always add more, sadly you can’t take any water out.
- Using your fingers, gently incorporate the water with the flour. You want to end up with a ball of pastry which holds together, is smooth and leaves the bowl clean. You do not want it to be tacky or crumbly. Although many people say you must handle pastry as little as possible, at this stage it is important to get the mix correct, so don’t worry if it takes a bit of pummeling.
- Once you have your ball of pastry it needs to rest. Wrap it in clingfilm and place in fridge for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best. Resting will mean that it does not shrink and the texture is nice and crumbly.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before you need it.
The amount is enough for two 20cm ish quiches with a bit left over. I always make more as it freezes well and seems to be more successful when made in larger quantities.
You can add herbs, Parmesan cheese, very finely diced sun-dried tomato, a sprinkling of poppy or fennel seeds etc. to the pastry. Add your chosen extra just before you add the water.