short crust pastry

not a fun task per se. and consequently, a very boring post. best done in a food processor – should you have one. if not you can use your hands. and by hands i mean fingertips because pastry needs to be kept cold AT ALL TIMES*. i found this shortcrust recipe in the river cafe cookbook and it has never ever failed. the grating of the pastry is, i think, a stroke of technical genius and it makes an otherwise laborious task lighter. it has a similar effect on the pastry.


350g plain flour

pinch of salt

125g cold unsalted butter in cubes

100g icing sugar

3 large egg yolks (4 if 3 just doesnt cut it…usually it doesnt)

first pulse the flour and butter until it resembles coarse bread crumbs

then add the icing sugar and the eggs, one at a time and pulse again. the dough should immediately leave the sides of the bowl. put this into a ball, wrap in glad wrap and put in the fridge for an hour.

remove from the fridge and with the largest-hole bit of a cheese grater, grate the pastry into a 28cm loose bottomed (think we’re all heading that way) tart tin.

press with fingertips into the sides and base until even all over. then prick the base with a fork and put back in the fridge to set for another half an hour. then pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

remove the tart from the fridge and line with baking paper. pour on some weights – whatever you have. ive been known to use monies..fifty cent pieces work a treat. rice works just as well. and put into the oven for 10 minutes.

remove from the oven and remove the weights. return to the oven and bake for another ten minutes until golden. set aside to cool completely until ready to fill it with whatever takes your fancy.

* i apologise for that danny katz-esque twitch. i have for a long time now, had a deep seated aversion to the use of capital letters to convey emphasis. if your vocabulary is not strong enough to make a point emphatically then i have always been of the belief that you shouldnt write and to use capital letters in such a way only draws attention to the fact. that rant though probably reveals a moralism and an intellectual snobbery unwelcome on this blog so i will refrain from going on and yet, perversely, make my point all at once

nb. this blog is about to get very pastry heavy. not unlike its author. so this is not filler – this is the calm before the epic tart storm. so stay with me.


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