My mom is a wonderful cook and probably the best person in the world at making pastry. She always has such a knack at being able to make it crumbly and taste perfect, something which I am still working on at the moment.
My two favourite recipes she cooks use sweet pastry; they are toffee apple pie or egg custard, and they always look like pretty impressive deserts when they come out of the oven.
When I was little, me and my sister used to make jam tarts with the left over pastry. They must have been pretty tough due to the amount we played with it and rolled it out before it went in the oven, but it was a good, fun learning experience – and I still make jam tarts with left over pastry now.
When first decided I wanted to make my own shortcrust pastry I looked in the recipe books but couldn’t choose which recipe was best one to go for, so I cast them aside and decided to ask my mom.
The recipe she gave me for a shortcrust pastry is very simple and easy to do; you just need to follow the proportions – half the amount of flour in fat and the same number of tablespoons of water as the oz of flour. I’m sure there are lots of other recipes out there and someone in your family will have their own… but this is my mom’s.
My mom’s shortcrust pastry recipe
16oz plain flour
Up to 16 tablespoons of cold water
Pinch of salt
For a flan base use:
12oz plain flour
Up to 12 tablespoons of cold water
Pinch of salt
Put the flour and salt into a bowl and cube the butter and lard into it. Try to have the butter and lard out of the fridge for half an hour before using as it can be a bit too hard.
Using your fingertips rub the butter and lard into the flour until it has been combined and looks like breadcrumbs.
Put most of the cold water into the breadcrumb looking mix and squash gently till just combined. If you need to keep adding the rest of the water till it all sticks together but don’t add too much you want it to just combine and not be sticky, it is better when it is only just holding together.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and put into the fridge for at least half an hour.
It is now ready to roll out and use – or freeze if you need to.