Shortcrust Pastry


RECIPE: I’ve made shortcrust pastry many times from a large assortment of recipes. I often have trouble with shrinkage. I wanted to try this one because there was so much detail provided and I wondered if a few additional steps would be worth it. Despite all the detail about how to create your pastry, you’re left hanging at the end with a pastry lined tin, and I wasn’t sure whether to blind bake, or just put my filling straight into the raw case.

COMPONENTS: After you semi-rub in the butter into the flour, you sprinkle over chilled vinegar and quite a lot of chilled water and you’re thinking how can all this water combine into this pastry and not leave me with a soggy mess? Smearing it with the heel of your hand across the counter to combine it works though! To roll the pastry I used my new silicone pastry mat that my sister gave me for Christmas. It means that you don’t need to flour the bench when you’re rolling the pastry, which reduces the risk of the ingredients going out of balance and your pastry becoming too dry. I made the pastry at night and put it in the fridge overnight in a flat disc, then rolled it in the morning, chilled it again and baked it that night. You can’t get much more simple than a Quiche Lorraine filling. Beat three eggs with about 300-350ml total of cream and milk and throw in a bit of bacon or ham.

ASSEMBLY: Chilling it after rolling it definitely seems to reduce shrinkage (the gluten gets a chance to relax). Adding a decorative trim worked okay but it baked faster and ended up darker than I would have liked. I may have avoided the over-baking on the top edge by skipping the short blind bake. I added a Quiche Lorraine filling, which worked well.

IMPRESSION: This is a nice buttery version of shortcrust, and I really liked the depth of the instructions. Oh and it didn’t shrink at all!

Recipe for shortcrust pastry from Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam
Recipe for Quiche Lorraine from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 1 by Julia Child

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