With a few ingredients, you can turn your hand to making your own shortcrust pastry, anytime and for a fraction of the cost of buying ready-made.
225g plain flour
Pinch of salt
4-5 tbsps of water
- Put the flour into a bowl. Add the margarine and salt.
- Using your washed, clean hands, rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs in appearance.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of water by sprinkling it across the mixture.
Dawn: The aim is to combine the ingredients to form a small ball being mindful not to add too much water.
Andrew: Why do you have to be aware of how much water to add, Dawn?
Dawn: Too much water will make the pastry hard rather than mouthwateringly crumbly so it’s worth knowing this.
- Stir in the water with a spoon until the mixture starts to stick together.
- With one hand, collect the dough-like mixture together to form a ball.
- Knead lightly for a few seconds to give a smooth, firm pastry dough.
Dawn: Don’t over handle the mixture as this can make it hard in texture, too.
- To roll out, sprinkle a little flour on a clean working surface and a rolling pin (no flour on the actual pastry dough). Roll out the dough evenly in one direction, turning it occasionally.
Dawn: Aim for a thickness of about 1/8th of an inch and try not to pull or stretch the pastry.
Andrew: You can bake it straight away but it’s best to allow the pastry to ‘rest’ for 30 minutes in the ovenproof dish or tin you are using, covered with cling film or foil ahead of cooking it.
- Bake until lightly golden brown on gas mark 6, 200 °C electric.
Dawn: There are many variations such as wholemeal pastry using wholemeal flour rather than plain flour as well as cheese pastry where you simply add 100g of mature cheddar or a hard cheese of your choice along with an optional pinch of dry mustard powder before you add the water.
Andrew: That sounds a really interesting and delicious alternative pastry, Dawn.
Dawn: It is, Andrew and so very easy to do, too. I reckon that the shortcrust pastry recipe here has cost less that 50p in ingredients using basic range plain flour.
Andrew: WOW! That’s great to learn, Dawn and what this blog is all about.
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