sieve 8oz of plain flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt
add 4oz of fat - this can be butter, margerine or lard
rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
bind using approx 2 tablespoons of water, gathering the mixture into a ball
roll out on a floured surface
the pastry can now be used to make a variety of pies, tarts etc
bake in a hot oven - approx 180 degrees celcius.
Great fun because it's easy, it takes some (but not too much) physical force, and the result tastes great. Just remember: twice as much flour as you have fat.

Add a drop of vinegar (fill with, say, cheese, ham, parsley, garlic) or add up to 1/4 the flour's weight of sugar (fill with raisins, apple, alcohol, cinnamon).

Keep the ingredients cool and work as fast as you can! Warming up, the dough turns oily, losing its structure, and after a while it won't bake properly.

Three secrets of the shortcrust pastry of the gods:

  • Twice as much flour as fat.
  • It's gotta be cold.
  • Don't overwork the dough!

    So, make your pastry, shape it loosely into a roll, wrap in clingfilm and stick in the fridge for at least 1 hour - more if it's summer in a hot climate. To actually line the pan with pastry, cut off slices from your roll and place then, jigsaw-style, side by side, applying light pressure to the seams. The less you manhandle the pastry, the crustier, fluffier and shorter it will be.

    Never make shortcrust pastry with sugar. It melts in the cooking and completely ruins the desired consistency of the pie crust. Anyway, the filling needs to be sweet enough to compliment the savoury, tangy crust.

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