Oh shortcrust pastry. It’s thrown many a baker off but don’t panic. I’m here to demystify Thermomix shortcrust pastry for you with lots of great tricks.
I admit, shortcrust pastry may not seem like the easiest dough to master but all it takes to make a beautiful pie and a crunchy tart shell is a good recipe that you can rely on. My shortcrust pastry contains a few extra flavours that make it more well-rounded in my opinion and through a lot of experimenting I have found a good balance of flavours that don’t overpower it. The basic principle behind shortcrust pastry is always to use half the quantity of butter to flour and I add icing sugar to create a slightly finer texture. The egg really helps seal the pastry and prevents it from soaking in moisture the next day. It will preserve it better and ensure you still have a perfect pie the next day.
Check out my video here- How To Make Thermomix Shortcrust Pastry
My 6 tricks to perfection
I’ve listed my favourite tricks that I accumulated over time to make the perfect shortcrust pastry and I hope it will help restore your confidence.
1. Freeze your butter cubes before making the pastry.
About 15 minutes before you want to start making the pastry, place your butter, cut into cubes, in the freezer until you are ready. The frozen butter will really help prevent a soggy and flimsy pastry and you don’t risk warming the dough too much with your hands while processing it. I would recommend strictly to use unsalted French butter for making shortcrust pastry as it is much better in flavour, has a higher fat to water ratio and will therefore not shrink as much in the oven.
2. Wash your hands with cold water just before starting.
Just before you are ready to make your pastry, wash your hands with very cold water to prevent your hands from warming up the pastry. I would also recommend you do that once the pastry has had its initial resting period and whenever you handle it.
3. Use the rolling pin to soften the cold pastry after it has rested.
Once the pastry rested, you can use the rolling pin to bash the pastry first before rolling out. To do so, take the pastry out of the fridge and remove the cling film. Place on a lightly floured surface and bash from the centre outwards to either side with the rolling pin to soften the pastry before rolling. This will prevent it from cracking.
4. Use the rolling pin to help you line and shape the pastry in the tart tin.
When you are lining a tart tin with your pastry, there is a great trick to get an even and amazing crust. Roll up the pastry onto the rolling pin and place on top of the tart tin. Then press in the edges so that you have some overlapping pastry. Now take your rolling pin and roll over the edge of the tart tin so that you almost cut off the pastry with the rolling pin. That makes a perfect edge and you can then wrap the leftover pastry in cling film to use another time.
5. Line your pastry with cling film and rice for blind baking.
Just before you are ready to blind bake your pastry, it is important to line it with some form of weight. That will prevent the pastry from rising while you are blind baking it. If you don’t have ceramic baking beans at hand that’s no problem. Simply line the tart shell with cling film so that it overlaps quite a bit on either side. Then fill with rice to the top. Use the overlapping cling film to close in the rice almost like a parcel. The cling film will shrink to the rice and after blind baking, you can simply lift it out like a little parcel. Much easier than greaseproof paper and cling film.
6. Brush the baked pastry with egg white to avoid a soggy bottom.
If you are filling your pastry shell after you have cooked it, there is a great trick to prevent it from getting a soggy bottom. Simply brush the pastry with some egg white and return to the oven for a couple of minutes before filing it. The egg white will seal the pastry and make a waterproof shell.
The basic recipe
- 250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 500g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 20g whole milk
- Place the butter cubes in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to cool them down completely.
- Remove and place in the mixing bowl. Add the plain flour, eggs, icing sugar, vanilla pod, lemon zest and milk and combine 20 Sec. / Speed 6. The mixture should resemble crumble and may not be fully incorporated. Run your hands under cold water, then tip the mixture onto the kitchen worktop and quickly form into a ball. Divide in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C Fan / Gas Mark 4.
- Remove one pastry from the fridge and use as desired. You could also freeze the pastry discs for up to 6 months or store for up to 1 month in the fridge.
Now it is time to put your shortcrust pastry making skills to practice and try some of my favourite recipes. Here you can find a whole lot of amazing tart recipes to get you practising.