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Shortcrust Pastry

This quick and easy pastry recipe will change your life! It’s flaky, tender, crispy and buttery, without a soggy bottom in sight.


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VIEW RECIPE


Recipe adapted from Elaine Lemm, The Spruce Eats

Pastry was never my favorite thing to bake. It’s too time consuming and labor intensive, and I never achieve those elusive flaky layers.


So I took a years-long detour and bought pre-made dough whenever I wanted to bake pies and tarts. Sadly, they never came out well. The dough didn’t brown and the bottom was always soggy.


But things were about to change forever.


Last fall, my husband and I binge watched The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. A classic British staple — mincemeat pies — is one of Jake’s favorite British treats. He traveled to England as a teenager and had the privilege of eating authentic mincemeat pies. It’s one of his favorite culinary memories.


From that moment it was my goal to make him mincemeat pies for Christmas. I knew that meant I had to try pastry again, but I was determined.


My first goal was to find a shortcrust pastry recipe which didn’t make me cringe or pull my hair out. That’s how I stumbled across this pastry recipe from The Spruce Eats. And yes, this is also the recipe I followed for making the mincemeat pies. After an arduous, rainy-day search that took me to 5 different grocery stores, I found jarred mincemeat at Cartwright’s Market in Medford.


WHY IS SHORTCRUST PASTRY CALLED “SHORT”?

In baking, “short” means there’s a high proportion of fat to flour. Short doughs are usually rich, flaky and buttery.


DO I NEED TO USE A FOOD PROCESSOR?

No. The first time I made this recipe I used my pastry cutter to blend the butter and flour. But it was cumbersome and I just dove in with my hands. I’ve found that mixing the butter and flour by hand is easier and more satisfying. There’s no substitute for feeling the dough come together between your fingers and knowing what the right texture is.


This pastry dough is extremely user-friendly. When I used it as the base for my mini mincemeat pies, the pastry was crisp, flaky and...no soggy bottoms! I could taste the beautiful brown caramelization in every layer of the dough.


I believe the applications of this shortcrust pastry are endless. I have also used it as the base for blood orange curd tartlets and handheld meat pies. Those recipes are coming soon! I can’t wait to find more uses for it, and see what you come up with, too.


CLICK HERE TO VIEW & PRINT RECIPE



Shortcrust Pastry

*Adapted from Elaine Lemm, The Spruce Eats


2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Pinch of salt

1 egg, beaten

Cold water


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Add the flour, butter and salt to a large bowl.

3. Rub the butter into the flour and salt with your fingers. It should feel like coarse crumbs.

4. Stir in the beaten egg.

5. Add in cold water a little at a time. Mix until a firm dough forms.

6. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.

7.When ready to use, roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface.

8. Use in a variety of recipes and enjoy!

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