BakeRecipes

Shortcrust Pastry

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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.

Ingredients

225g (1½ cups) plain flour
Good pinch salt
150g chilled unsalted butter, diced
3-3½ tablespoons iced water

    Method

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 Tips

    Making 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.

      Variations

      • 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.

       

      This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Never-fail Shortcrust Pastry. CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

      Photography by Alan Benson.