200g plain flour
100g fat – choose butter, margarine, cooking fat, lard
Cold water to mix
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
- Rub 100g of fat into 200g plain flour and mix to a dough with cold water – about 2-4 tablespoons.
Knead into a ball and wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
The science bit
Plain flour is used for pastry as a higher gluten flour like bread flour makes a tough pastry.
When water is mixed with the flour the gluten develops so shortcrust pastry uses very little water to keep it crisp and make shorter pastry.
If you overwork the pastry dough the gluten develops making tough, hard pastry.
Fats and oils shorten a flour mixture to make it crisp and crumbly in texture.
The fat forms a protective coating around flour particles, stops flour absorbing more water and makes shorter pastry.
The gluten sets with heat and forms the crisp, short pastry.