I’d be a rotten liar if I said I always made my own pastry, but this is such an easy and reliable way to get crisp, light pastry. No complicated techniques, just a bit of elbow grease and a box grater. Do not fear this pastry.
This recipe is a slightly tweaked version of Delia’s: freezing both the butter and flour means it’s extra cold, ensuring dough that’s easy to work with. If you’re baking in a very warm kitchen, you could also freeze the butter and flour after grating to ensure everything stays cold.
In addition to keeping things cold, it’s really important to only add just enough water to bring the dough together or the pastry won’t turn out correctly (tough, not very flaky); just mix in the water gradually and it’ll be fine.
Who wouldn’t want their very own tart?
This recipe makes about 200g pastry, enough for 2 individual tarts which can serve as a decent lunch with something on the side, or perhaps topped with something sweet for dessert. Who wouldn’t want their very own tart?
You can make the dough 1 – 2 days in advance, or cut it into portions to be individually wrapped and frozen. This recipe is easily doubled.
- . 60g unsalted butter, cut in 1 piece
- . 100g plain flour, sifted
- . Generous pinch of salt
- . 2 – 3 tablespoons very cold water, or more if needed
- Wrap butter in a layer of foil. Put flour and salt in a freezer bag. Freeze both of them for at least 25 minutes, up to 40 minutes.
- You'll need to work quickly from this stage onwards until the end. Partially unwrap butter and coarsely grate all of it into a bowl, holding the butter through the foil so you don't melt it. Use a round-bladed knife to scrape butter flakes from the inside of the grater.
- Take flour and salt out of the freezer and add it to the grated butter. Toss everything together well until butter pieces are dusted and separated.
- Add 1 tablespoon cold water to the mixture and combine really well with a round-bladed knife. The dough is ready when it's clumpy, shaggy, and stays together when pressed with your hand. If it still seems very dry, add another ½ tablespoon, mixing again really well, continuing like this until small clumps form.
- Run your hands under a cold tap and dry well. Bring the clumps together with your hand, adding drops of water to dry areas if needed, until you have a slightly lumpy dough that completely comes together.
- Wrap the dough (I use the floury freezer bag) and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before using it. This relaxes the gluten and keeps the butter in little cold pieces, ensuring the dough is easy to roll out and bakes into light, flaky pastry.
- To use the pastry: roll it out to the thickness of a £1 coin (about 3mm). Glaze with milk or egg before baking. For a single crust underneath or over a filling, it'll take about 20 – 25 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius/180 fan to cook. You want it puffed and nicely browned.