Master Pastry Pride

Cold butter and a cool fridge are key to mastering delicious pastry for all your prize-winning pies and crowd-pleasing crusts.

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Pastry skills, tips and tricks
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What is shortcrust pastry and what to make with it 

Love pie? Tarts? Quiche? Hit the kitchen and bake up shortcrust pastry dough. It is a simple recipe used for a variety of crusts. It calls for just four ingredients: flour, butter, salt, and water if you are making a savoury crust, or flour, butter, sugar, and water if you are making a sweet crust. Shortcrust pastry is easy to make and is a versatile pastry because it can be adapted for both savoury and sweet dishes. 

What to make with shortcrust pastry? 

There are many ways to enjoy delicious shortcrust pastry. We have some very tasty recipes for lemon meringue pie and pecan pie. But you're the cook so fill your pastry with your favourite fillings whether that be meat, vegetables, cheese or a little sweet treat, Cook. 

Blind bake your shortcrust pastry 

You do not want your shortcrust to become soggy. You want it crisp with a flaky bite. And here is how to get just that: partially bake your shortcrust pastry before you add any filling. Especially those that are moist or saucy. This process is what some people call blind baking. What makes blind baking a must, is the fact that it seals the surface, preventing moisture from entering the dough. It is simply the way to go for a crisp pastry shell. 

Use cold butter 

Want a crisp crust? Then use cold, almost frozen butter. The best and easiest way to go about it is to grate the butter directly into the flour. You can use your hands, but make sure they’re not too warm. Go for a crumb-like consistency for both sweet and savoury tarts and pies. 

Two tricks for the perfect dough 

The first trick is to mix the dough directly on your tabletop. Do not overwork it. Work quickly, cook, and stop when the pastry has just come together. The second trick is to cool the tart dough in the fridge before rolling – then it is easier to roll out leaving you with a masterpiece. This trick goes for both sweet and savoury tarts and pies. 

Preheat and prepare your oven 

Preheat your oven, and wait to take your shortcrust pastry dough out of the fridge until the oven has come to temperature. If you put shortcrust pastry in an oven that is too cold it will shrink. If the pastry is left out on the side too long waiting for the oven to come to temperature, it will shrink too. Simply stay a step ahead, cook.