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 Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

Click picture to enlarge.
Short crust pastry is used for lots of pie dishes. It sounds a bit  daunting but as this recipe shows, follow the instructions and you will end up with delightful, light and crisp pastry.

KEY POINTS

Preparation Time:

   Cooking Time:  
 How Difficult  Medium  Freeze?   No
 Servings

Pastry for 1 pie


INGREDIENTS
The basic ingredients are twice the amount of flour to fat. The recipe below will be enough to line and top a normal sized pie. If just topping a pie, use half the amounts or use the full amounts and freeze any left over pastry.
 
Metric Imperial
55g Cooking margarine (e.g. Stork) 2oz Cooking margarine (e.g. Stork)
55g refined cooking fat / lard (e.g. Cookeen) 2oz refined cooking fat (e.g. Cookeen)
220g Plain flour 8oz Plain flour

NOTES
In our recipe we have used Cooking margarine and cooking fat / lard. It is quite possible to simply use Cooking margarine or a mix of butter and fat / lard. We have found our mixture produces the best shortcrust pastry. Whatever is used the proportions of fat to flour should be maintained - twice the weight of flour to that of the fat.

READY MADE SHORTCRUST PASTRY
It is quite possible to buy ready made shortcrust pastry at your supermarket, normally it is frozen. This makes excellent shortcrust pastry but never as good as freshly made pastry. It also has a couple of disadvantages.

Firstly, it is far more expensive compared to home made pastry. The second disadvantage is not so obvious, the size of a sheet of ready made pastry is fixed, and if it is slightly smaller than you require then two sheets will be required.

Secondly, it is almost always frozen. You will need to remember to defrost it before use which can take much of the spontaneity out of baking.

Our shortcrust pastry recipe below has lots of pictures, but you can also view our video by clicking on the YouTube video below.

VIDEO OF SHORTCRUST PASTRY RECIPE

CLICK ANY PICTURE BELOW TO ENLARGE IT

Mix the ingredients It's best for shortcrust pastry that the margarine and cooking fat are at room temperature. This will enable it to combine with flour as quickly as possible and make rolling out the pastry much easier.

Add the margarine and cooking fat to a large bowl (cut into lumps) and sieve in the the flour.


 
Gently rub the flour, and margarine / lard together with your fingers lifting them and letting the mix drop back into the bowl. This will help more air into the mixture.

The mixture should end up as small crumbs although some larger bits may be present. Don't overdo this stage, it should only take two or three minutes.


 

The basic mixture

Add 3 tablespoons of water to the mix and 'cut' the mixture together with a knife for a minute or so. Then use your fingers to gently blend the mix together even further. If it won't hold together add another half tablespoon of water.

The mix is of the correct consistency when it is in a ball and can collect all the odd bits around the bowl into one single ball.

 

Wrap the mix in cling film and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to 'rest'. After it has rested for 30 minutes it is ready to be rolled out into the shape required. We have assumed for this page that you want to line the bottom and top of a fruit pie.  

Measure the pastry Separate two thirds of the pastry (for the pie base). Dust the surface with flour where you want to roll out the pastry. Most flat surfaces are fine for this. Move the rolling pin back and forwards turning the pastry round frequently to get a round shape. keep dusting the surface with more flour if the pastry starts to stick. Use the base of the dish to be lined as a guide to size.

  

When the pastry has been rolled to approximately the correct size, transfer it to over the top of the pie dish. Click both pictures on the left for an enlarged view.

First, roll about half of the pastry over the rolling pin (top picture). Then support the remaining pastry with your hand and transfer the pastry to the top of  the pie dish.

Gently firm the pastry into the bottom of the pie dish. It's not a disaster if the pastry tears slightly because when the pie is filled the base will not be very visible.


    
Line the base of the dish Firm the shortcrust pastry to the base and sides of the pie dish with your fingers.

Use the blunt side of a normal knife to trim off any pastry which is higher than the sides of the pie dish.


    
Fill the pastry lined dish with whatever is your choice of fruit. Roll out the remaining third of the pastry with the rolling pin to just larger than the top of the pie dish. Transfer the pastry to the top of the pie dish using the rolling pin as before.

Gently firm down the pastry over the top of the fruit and trim the excess pastry off with the blunt side of a knife.


  
Crimp the pastry edges Turn on the oven now to 220C / 425F / Gas Mark 7.

It will make the pie look more attractive if you 'crimp' the pastry round the edge of the pie. Click the picture on the left for a better idea of how to do this. The video below shows in even more detail how to crimp shortcrust pastry.

VIDEO HOW TO CRIMP SHORTCRUST PASTRY

  

Finally, make a couple of holes in the top of the pastry.

This will allow steam to come out whilst the pie is being baked and keep the shortcrust pastry crisp.


  
Cooked Shortcrust Pastry Recipe. Click picture to enlarge. Place the pie in the pre-heated oven and leave at that temperature for ten minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 190C / 375F / Gas Mark 5.

If you are cooking a fruit or meat pie, cook for a further 30 to 40 minutes until the shortcrust pastry is golden brown and the pie filling has cooked through.

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