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How to make shortcrust pastry Recipe

Chef Calum Franklin provided this helpful lesson in making his favourite crisp, shortcrust pastry dough. It’s versatile enough to stretch over the flakiest apple pie lid to the fine details of a pastry braid.

Makes 900g (enough to line two 25cm round tart tins)

Total Time 90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 60ml ice cold water
  • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 
  • 10g fine table salt
  • 250g butter, chilled and diced into 2cm cubes

Instructions

1. Combine the eggs with the water and keep the mixture in the fridge until needed. It is important to keep it chilled as this will stop it from splitting. 

2. If making the pastry by hand, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and, using a round-bladed knife, cut into the flour until the pieces are as small as possible. Working quickly, pass a handful of flour and butter across your fingertips, gently rubbing them together as you allow it to fall back into the bowl, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. If using a mixer, sift the flour into the bowl and add the salt and butter. Using a paddle attachment, work at a medium speed to incorporate the butter. 

3. Whether working by hand or using a mixer, continue working the butter into the flour until it is almost incorporated but small nuggets are visible (for a flaky pastry) or fully incorporated to a fine granular mix for a mealy, more even pastry – its density makes it good for pie bases as it’s less likely to go soggy. 

4. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the chilled egg mixture. Continue to work by hand with the round-bladed knife or with the mixer on a medium speed until the dough just starts to come together. The dough should still be fairly rough – it is important not to overwork it otherwise gluten in the flour will form strong bonds and the pastry will develop an undesirable elasticity. 

5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it a few times to finish. Be careful not to overwork or handle it too much. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, wrap tightly – or put in a close-fitting air-tight container, ensuring it’s well sealed – and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 1 hour, before using. This dough can be kept for up to three days in the fridge or up to one month in the freezer

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