We all have some things that we feel unable to cook successfully. My nemesis is scones. I must try again one day. In the meantime if anyone has a foolproof scone recipe I am willing to give it a go.
Pastry is something that many people do not make from scratch for a variety of reasons. I must admit I used to buy the sheets of pastry from the supermarket. I would still buy puff pastry if I specifically needed that as I believe it is quite challenging and time-consuming to make.
Shortcrust pastry is a different matter and in an attempt to reduce the packaging that we accept into our home I have returned to my tried and true pastry recipes (sweet and savoury) which came from my mother. I have used these intermittently for many years.
SHORTCRUST PASTRY (SAVOURY)
200g self-raising flour
¼ cup cold water
Place flour in a bowl. Finely shred the butter and rub into the flour until crumbly. Add cold water and stir in with a knife blade to make a firm dough. Wrap in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator. Knead on a lightly floured board and roll out thinly. Use as desired for quiche, savoury pie, sausage rolls etc.
I always use ‘real’ butter – not margarine or spreadable butter. You will not get the same results with substitute ingredients in this case.
Use beaten egg to brush the top and underside of pie tops. This will stop the pastry absorbing liquid from the filling and becoming soggy.
90g self-raising flour
60g plain flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
Sift the flours. Rub in the butter. Beat sugar, egg yolk and milk and add to other ingredients. Knead gently and roll out pastry. Place in pie plate. Crimp the edges and prick with a fork. Bake in a moderate oven.
This pastry is more delicate to work with but makes a lovely shell for a sweet tart such as lemon meringue or caramel. I have not used it for anything other than tart shells but I am sure it could be.
Here are the finished sausage rolls using savoury shortcrust pastry. I also made a mushroom and bacon quiche as well as tops for 2 mini beef pies. These were the circles cut from the pastry in an earlier photo. I made a double quantity of pastry to do all of this.