Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- November 17, 2019
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry is delicious, easy to make and it comes out of the oven looking like you put in more work than you did. It helps to have a go-to recipe for last minute needs and I’m excited to share mine.
A decade ago, I was a member of the now-defunct food community called the Daring Bakers. As you can tell from the name, this was no ordinary group. We made a lot of things from scratch, some calling for days of preparation. Monthly hosts go into great lengths to research recipes, including their origins and authenticity. Our baking muscles did some heavy lifting, no doubt about it.
This pastry recipe is one component of the easier challenges I had the pleasure of making and have used it for many other tarts since.
I wish I could tell you the original source of the recipe, but aside from looking my Evernote, that’s it. My friend Denise still has the original recipe and notes from that challenge. I still use the same ingredients, but I’ve modified the instructions for hand mixing, and added the quicker food processor method.
There are times when I have the leisure of taking things slowly and prefer working with the dough by hand. It is always a good idea to practice making it by hand to get a feel for the dough, a lesson best learned by doing. I have grown fond of its meditative charm. Maybe you will, too.
Uses for Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
You can use it for tarts, both in a pan and free-form. As much as I love dainty tarts baked in fluted pans, I am a big fan of rustic fruit tarts.
I used the leftover pastry dough from the Bakewell tart to make a small cherry galette, a perfect light Saturday breakfast for two.
To make a quick fruit rustic tart: Mix your favourite fruit with a few sprinkles of flour, sugar, spices (like ground cinnamon and nutmeg), and about 1-2 teaspoons per 100 grams of fruit depending on their juiciness. Pile about an inch-high of the fruit mixture, leaving about 1.5 to 2 inch space between the fruit and the edge of the dough. Wrap the edges over the mixture to enclose the filling. Brush dough with egg wash Bake at 30-40 minutes at 375°F and it’s done.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- Rolling Pin
- Food processor
- box grater with large holes (if hand mixing)
- Pastry cutter/blender (if hand mixing)
- 225 grams (8oz) unbleached all purpose flour
- 30 grams (1oz) granulated white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 110 grams (4oz) unsalted butter, cold, preferrably frozen
cut into cubes if using a food processor
- 2 egg yolks (from large eggs)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste/vanilla extract; OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract; OR seeds of half a vanilla bean Optional. Vanilla bean and paste will have the best all-purpose flavour. A hint of almond works well with apple, apricot, banana, caramel, cherry, coffee, fig, honey, orange, peach, pear, plum.
- 1-2 tablespoon cold water
- Mix flour, sugar and salt, then sift into a bowl.
Instructions for Hand Mixing
- Grate frozen butter into the flour mixture using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter/blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resemble bread crumbs. Set aside.
- Lightly beat the egg yolks and the vanilla or almond extract/paste (if using) with a fork. Mix into the flour mixture with your hand, a wooden spoon or a pastry cutter.
- Keep mixing while dribbling water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough. It is ready when it starts to stick together when squeezed by the fistful.
Instructions for Mixing with a Food Processor
- Place flour mixture into the food processor and pulse with the butter cubes, a few pieces at a time until they resemble bread crumbs.
- Lightly beat the egg yolks and the vanilla or almond extract/paste (if using) and drizzle over the flour and butter mixture. Pulse a few times until mixed.
- Drizzle with a tablespoon of water and pulse. You can add more until it starts to clump together.
Rest the dough
- Transfer the dough onto a a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.