Savoury Shortcrust Pastry

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    1

    quantity

Appears in

Bourke Street Bakery

By Paul Allam and David McGuinness

Published 2009

  • About

If you only ever want to make one pastry dough, then this is the one to make as it can be used to make both sweet and savoury products. Until working at Bourke Street Bakery this is the pastry I used for everything — sweet or savoury. The method for this recipe is very similar to sweet shortcrust pastry, so you can refer to the pictures to see a step-by-step breakdown of techniques.

This recipe makes enough pastry to make twelve 12.5 cm ( inch) pies or quiches. If you are making any of the savoury pies you will only use half this amount, but rather than halve the quantity of the pastry we suggest you line all twelve shells and freeze six of them for future use. The pastry can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10½ oz) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1.5 cm (⅝ inch) cubes
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, chilled
  • 5 g ( oz/1 teaspoon) salt
  • 15 ml (½ fl oz/3 teaspoons) vinegar, chilled
  • 170 ml ( fl oz/ cup) water, chilled

Method

Remove the butter from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you start mixing — the butter should be just soft but still very cold so it doesn’t melt through the pastry while still mixing.

If you are mixing the dough by hand, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl and toss through the butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour to partly combine. If you are using a food processor, put the flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor and add the butter, pulsing in 1-second bursts about three or four times to partly combine.

You should now have a floury mix through which you can see squashed pieces of butter. Turn out onto a clean surface and gather together. Combine the vinegar with the chilled water and sprinkle it over the flour mixture. Use the palm of your hand to smear this mixture away from you across the bench. Gather together again and repeat this smearing process twice more before gathering the dough again. You may need to smear once or twice more to bring it together — you should still be able to see streaks of butter marbled through the pastry; this gives a slightly flaky texture to the final product. Divide into two even-sized portions and shape into two round, flat discs about 2 cm (¾ inch) thick. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at leat 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you wish to roll it. Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface and rub a little flour over your rolling pin. Working from the centre of the pastry, gently roll the pastry away from you, then turn the pastry about 30 degrees and roll out again. Continue to repeat this process until you have a flat round disc, about 3 mm ( inch) thick. Sprinkle extra flour over the bench and rolling pin as needed, but try to use it as sparingly as possible — if too much is absorbed into the pastry as you roll it, unmixed flour will be added resulting in unappealing pastry that has a poor flavour and texture. As you are rolling the pastry, bear in mind that you are trying to flatten it into a disc, not ferociously stretch it out in all directions. Stretching will only cause the pastry to shrink excessively when baking. Return the pastry to the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours to allow the gluten to relax.

If you are using the pastry to make pies, brush twelve 12.5 cm ( inch) pie tins with a little butter. Cut the pastry using a round pastry cutter with a 15 cm (6 inch) diameter. Place the dough on top of the mould ensuring it is in the centre and use your fingers to gently push the pastry into the mould, moving around the rim until all of the pastry has been inserted — you should now have about 1 cm (½ inch) of dough hanging over the sides. Gently fold this pastry over the tins to leave a wide rim for attaching the lid. Any pie cases that aren’t going to be filled immediately can be frozen for up to 2 months.