This classic shortcrust pastry makes the ideal base for crumbly quiches and tarts.
The key to making it so nice and crumbly is the use of butter straight from the fridge. A food processor is very effective in preparing the dough: not only is it very easy, but it also prevents the butter from warming up or even melting while it’s being worked into the flour. If you make it by hand, you’ll get the best result by working swiftly: use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour and don’t knead the dough for too long.
You can add extra flavours to your liking, such as green herbs or grated Parmesan cheese. The addition of sugar and vanilla or lemon peel turns it into a lovely base for sweet baking. In all cases, add the extra dry ingredients after mixing the butter and the flour.
Classic butter and flour shortcrust pastry– enough to line 1 Ø 30 cm case or 6 Ø 12 cm ones.
- 150 g cold butter, diced
- 300 g flour
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp. cold water
Sift the flour over a large mixing bowl, then add the butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt and the water, then mix to a firm dough.
You can use a food processor for this. In this case, pulse until the butter and flour have become a crumbly mixture. Add the salt and water and process until the mix binds.
Gather the dough and wrap it in cling film, then chill for at least half an hour.
Heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4. Brush a baking tin with oil and dust it with flour.
Lightly knead the dough, shape it into a ball and place it onto a floured sheet of baking parchment. Flatten the ball a little, then cover it with a second parchment sheet. Roll out the dough until it’s a circle a few cm larger than the tin and about ½ cm thick.
Line the tin with the pastry. Prick the base all over with a fork to prevent it forming air bubbles. Cover the pastry case with one of the sheets of baking parchment and weigh it down with baking beans or dried rice. Blind bake the case for 10-12 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and beans.
At this stage, depending on the dish you are using it in, you can already start filling the pastry case, like we do in our pattypan squash and courgette tart recipe. Or, before filling, you can blind bake the case without the beans for 5 minutes more until it’s crisp.