Prep 15min (+20min chilling time)Makes: Enough for a 23cm round tart case, a 24cm square tart case, ten 6cm individual tart cases, a 31cm x 10cm tart case or 24 tartlet cases (1 tablespoon capacity)
Shortcrust pastry, when you have a good recipe, is one of the simplest and quickest pastries to make. Here I have given lots of making ahead and freezing tips as well as three great variations to use in a selection of both sweet and savoury tarts and pies.
Ingredients225g (1½ cups) plain flour
Good pinch salt
150g chilled unsalted butter, diced
3-3½ tablespoons iced water
- Place the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the iced water over the flour and butter mixture. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers: if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water. If it doesn’t, add the remaining ½ tbsp water and combine. The pastry should be soft but not sticky.
- Bring the pastry together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured, cool benchtop. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 30 seconds or until smooth and soft. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
Baker's TipsMaking ahead
This pastry (and all the variations below) can be made up to 3 days before using. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Stand at room temperature for 20-60 minutes (depending on the weather) until softened slightly, enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry
Shape pastry into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap, then seal in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day). Stand at room temperature for 20-60 minutes (depending on the weather) until softened slightly, enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry case/s
Place the pastry cases, still in the tin/s in the freezer until frozen. Either leave in tin/s or remove and seal in freezer bag/s or airtight container/s. Freeze for up to 1 month. Cook directly from the freezer or transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day) and blind bake or cook as directed in the recipe.
- Parmesan Shortcrust Pastry: Combine 40g (½ cup) finely grated Parmesan with the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Add 2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar or caster sugar to the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
- Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry: Reduce the flour to 200g (1⅓ cups). Sift with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons icing sugar and the salt before rubbing in the butter.
Photography by Alan Benson.