Shortcrust pastry has a long history dating back to Medieval times in Europe. Originally, it was made with flour, water, and lard or suet, and was used mainly for savoury pies and pastries. As sugar became more widely available, sweet variations of shortcrust pastry were developed and used for sweet pies and tarts.
During the Renaissance, shortcrust pastry became a popular dish among the upper classes, who would use it to create elaborate pies and pastries with intricate designs and decorations. In the 17th and 18th centuries, shortcrust pastry remained a staple of European cuisine, and was commonly used for pies, tarts, and quiches.
With the advent of industrialisation and mass production in the 19th century, shortcrust pastry became more widely available and affordable. Today, it remains a versatile and popular ingredient used in a wide range of dishes, both sweet and savoury, around the world.
A Delicious Shortcrust Pastry Recipe
- 150g wholegrain flour
- 75g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp cold water
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wholegrain flour and salt. If you want the freshest flour, packed with nutrition, be sure to use a home grain mill.
- Using your fingers, or a suitable mixer, rub the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and cold water to the bowl and mix until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it briefly until it forms a smooth ball.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness.
- Use the rolled-out dough to line a greased pie dish or tart tin.
- Prick the base of the pastry with a fork to prevent it from rising during baking.
- Bake the pastry case in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling with your desired sweet or savoury filling.
You can use this wholegrain shortcrust pastry to make a variety of delicious dishes, from quiches and tarts to sweet fruit pies and custard tarts.
Shortcrust Pastry Additives – Get Creative!
If you want to add to the pastry and give it extra flavour and texture, get creative with some of these options.
- Herbs and Spices – You can add dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano to give your pastry a savoury flavour. Alternatively, you can add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to give your pastry a warm and comforting flavour.
- Cheese – You can add grated cheese, like cheddar or parmesan, to your pastry for a delicious cheesy flavour. This works particularly well in savoury pastries.
- Nuts – Adding chopped nuts, like almonds or walnuts, to your pastry can give it a crunchy texture and a nutty flavour.
- Seeds – Adding seeds, like sesame, poppy, or sunflower seeds, to your pastry can give it a crunchy texture and a nutty flavour.
- Vegetables – Adding finely chopped vegetables, like onion, garlic, or peppers, can give your pastry a savoury flavour and add some extra nutrition.
- Bacon or Ham – Adding chopped cooked bacon or ham to your pastry can give it a smoky and savoury flavour.
- Fruits – Adding chopped fruits, like apples, pears, or berries, to your pastry can give it a sweet and fruity flavour. This works particularly well in sweet pastries.
- Chocolate – Adding chopped chocolate to your pastry can give it a rich and indulgent flavour. This works particularly well in sweet pastries.
These are just a few of the many options you can add to pastry to give it extra flavour and texture. Get creative and experiment with different ingredients to find your favourite combinations!
Storing Shortcrust Pastry
If you have made homemade shortcrust pastry and want to store it properly, here are some tips:
- Wrap the pastry: Once the pastry has been made, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil. This will help prevent it from drying out and becoming hard.
- Label and date: It’s a good idea to label the package with the type of pastry and the date it was made. This will help you keep track of how long it has been stored and when it should be used by.
- Freeze for longer storage: If you’re not planning on using the pastry within a few days, it’s best to freeze it. Place the wrapped pastry in an airtight container or freezer bag and label it with the type of pastry and the date it was made. Pastry can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw pastry properly: When you’re ready to use the pastry, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Do not leave it out at room temperature to thaw as this can encourage the growth of bacteria.
- Use it within recommended shelf life: The shelf life of homemade short crust pastry depends on a few factors, including the type of fat used and how it has been stored. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to use homemade short crust pastry within 3-4 days if stored in the refrigerator, or within 3 months if stored in the freezer.
It’s important to note that if the pastry looks or smells off, or if you have any doubts about its safety or freshness, it’s best to discard it and make a new batch.