Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

If you only want to perfect one pastry dough – then let this be the one, as it can be used for both the sweet and savoury pastries are much the same. This recipe makes enough for a 22cm pie base, a lid and enough for another lid. Even though this is probably much more than you need, I would suggest making it all as the pastry can be stored, frozen, for up to two months. This recipe is bought to you by one of my favourite recipe books – constructed by the bakers of the Bourke Street Bakery, Sydney.

Serves: 1 quantity
Cooking Time: Minimum 1 hour, 30 minutes


Ingredients

+ 400g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
+ 20 ml vinegar, chilled
+ 100 g caster sugar
+ 170 ml water, chilled
+ 665g plain flour, chilled

+ 5 g salt


Method

NOTE: Many of these ingredients requiring chilling beforehand if you live in a warm environment. It will make the dough easier to work with.

Remove the butter from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you intend to use it. Put the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and add the water, stirring well. Set aside for 10 minutes, and then stir again to completely dissolve the sugar.

If you are mixing the dough by hand, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl and toss through the cubed butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour to partly combine.If you are using a food processor to mix the dough. Simply put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and add the cubed butter, pulsing in 1-second bursts about 3-4 times to partly combine.

You want a mixture of squashed pieces of floury butter. Turn out onto a clean surface. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the flour mixture. Knead the dough, using the palm of your hand to push the mixture away from you. Gather it together and repeat the smearing of the mixture until the dough comes together. You still want to see butter marbling the mixture – this ensures a flaky pastry – so don’t over mix. Divide into portions as are appropriate for your recipe, and shape each into a round disc 2cm thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you wish to roll it. Sprinkle a little flour over a clean work surface and rub a little flour onto your rolling pin. Working from the centre of the pastry, gently roll the pastry away from you, then turn the pastry about 30 degrees and roll out again. Continue to repeat this process until you the pastry is about 3mm thick. Sprinkle flour over your work surface and rolling pin as necessary, but use sparingly. Return the pastry to the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for at least another 30 minutes, before blind baking. The longer you can leave it in the freezer, the more you will be able to counteract the shrinkage that will occur in a pastry that contains water like this one.

Original recipe sourced from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook.

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