The following recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry will leave you with a slightly uneven edge around the rim of the tin when you line it, resulting in a tart that looks rustic and homemade, which is what we aim for at Bourke Street Bakery. If you are looking for a perfectly even effect, this is not the correct recipe to use. The fact that this dough has water in it means it will shrink as the water evaporates during baking; the following method is to help counteract this shrinkage. If you are looking for a perfect result, use the Sweet Pastry (Pâté Sablée) recipe, but keep in mind that it is a far more fragile dough than this one.
This recipe makes enough pastry for twenty
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 mixing.
Put the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and add the water, stirring well. Set aside for 10 minutes, then stir again to completely dissolve the sugar.
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 work surface and gather together. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and use the palm of your hand to smear this mixture away from you across the work surface (a pastry scraper is a useful tool to use for this step). 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 the dough into two even-sized portions and shape into two round, flat discs about
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you wish to roll it. Sprinkle
At Bourke Street Bakery, we prefer to use loose-based tart tins and moulds, which have sides that are at an angle of about 90 degrees to the base. The right angle offers more support than sloping sides and makes it easier to remove a fragile tart. Again, it is important not to stretch the dough when lining the tins.
Once the tart has been lined and rested, most recipes will call for it to be blind baked. Blind baking pastry simply means you need to pre-bake the pastry before filling it, to ensure the base is crisp and cooked through. If you own a pizza stone this will work perfectly, as long as it is heated well and the pastry tin is placed directly on the stone.
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