Learning how to make pastry is an essential skill for baking, and is actually much, much easier than it may seem. Basic shortcrust pastry requires just three or four ingredients, and is so simple to make that you'll never want to use shop-bought pastry again. Perfect for pies savoury or sweet; if using in a sweet pie, simply add a little sugar.
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How to make pastry
To make enough for a standard round pie, you will need:
- Unsalted butter, 120 grams
- Plain flour, 200 grams
- Two egg yolks
- Water, 3–4 tablespoons
- A pinch of salt
1. In a bowl, mix the egg yolk and water; beat well until uniform.
2. In another bowl, combine the butter and flour. Start by cutting up the butter into chunks, add to the flour and break them up further with your fingers. Continue doing this until the butter and flour have bound together to form fine crumbs.
3. Start adding the egg yolk and water mixture, and keep working with your hands to mix it in. Eventually, the consistency will become more doughy and less crumbly.
4. Shape the dough into a ball and slightly flatten with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm.
5. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is called proving. If you overprove, you may find the pastry too difficult to work with.
6. Take out of the fridge, unwrap, and roll out. Cut to the size of whatever you're baking.
Top tip: the egg yolk in this recipe is optional, but using just water sometimes results in pastry that's too dry. You can also add whole milk or plant-based milk instead of the egg yolk and water.