Tag Archives: Tarts

Never-Fail Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

This is the only sweet shortcrust pastry recipe I use. It’s pretty simple as long as you follow all the stages. But if you skip the chilling, or add extra flour to roll it out, I can’t promise you it’ll work as well. So follow the tips if you don’t want renegade pastry! 

  
You will need:

70g icing sugar 

90g cubed cold butter 

210g plain flour 

1 egg

These measurements will make a batch about the size of the photo above. It keeps on the fridge for a few days though, so I made a double batch – the amounts of ingredients shown in the photos below will therefore be double the amount you would need for a single batch. 

A single batch would be more than enough to make a large tart, or a couple of batches of small tarts or sweet pies. It’s great for a tarte au citron, jam tarts and mini fruit pies. I’ll be using mine to make mince pies within the next couple of days, for which the recipe will follow, but if you’re used to working with pastry, you can of course crack on and feel free to use my mincemeat recipe as well.

  
1. Weigh out the icing sugar into a large bowl. 

  
2. Add the flour and roughly mix the two together. 

  
3. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar. You’ll need strong fingers for this! The motion you’ll need to employ is as if you had lotion to rub in or sugar between your thumb and fingertips that you wanted rid of. The idea is to combine the butter with the sugar and flour without mixing it, as though you’re crating little crumbs of butter which are each covered with flour and icing sugar. Try your best to get all of the butter broken down, but it isn’t completely the end of the world if you end up with a couple of small butter lumps. It should look like this when you’re done:

  

Blueberry Bakewells

These are a nice little treat and a great way to use up blueberries as you only need 125g. Try as I might, raw blueberries really don’t do anything for me, but in muffins or a pie they come to life. I made these yesterday to fulfil a colleague’s request, as he asked for blueberry muffins or cherry bakewells so I thought these felt like a good compromise. They do take a bit of time to make though as you’ll need to put the pastry in the fridge to chill at various points in the process but it’s a great recipe to fit in around other Sunday cooking. 

  
For the pastry, you will need: 

100g, chilled salted butter,cubed

200g plain flour

40g icing sugar

1 egg

For the blueberry filling:

125g blueberries

1 tbsp caster sugar

Squeeze of lemon juice

For the frangipane:

55g salted butter, softened to room temperature

55g caster sugar

40g ground almonds

15g plain flour

1 large egg

  
1. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients for the pastry until they resemble even crumbs. 

  
2. Beat the egg then mix into the crumbed mixture. Gently knead into a dough but don’t overwork it to keep the pastry nice and short. Then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes. 

  
3. In the mean time, put the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and set on a gentle heat, stirring every now and then. 

  
4. Once the blueberries have started to produce juice, you might want to help the berries to pop by pushing down on them with a spoon. Keep cooking until the mixture resembles a jam, thick and shiny.

5. Allow to cool and then push through a sieve. This may take some time if you want to get as much juice out as possible whilst keeping the skins separate. Then set aside. 

  
6. Roll it the chilled pastry as thin as you dare – the thinner the better. If it’s a warm day, you may want to fold up the rolled out pastry and put it back in the fridge before cutting out circles. If you do refrigerate it, roll it out again once you take it out to smooth out any creases.

7. Grease a 12-well muffin tin. Use a round cutter or large glass if you’re struggling, to cut out 12 rounds to form the bases of the pastry cases. You may need to gather the remnants together and re-roll to get the full 12. You may also need to re hill the dough if it becomes unworkable. Place these into the base of each well. 

8. Cut inch-wide strips from the remaining pastry to form the sides of the cases, merging it carefully with the edges of the bases and at the join.

  
9. Gently prick the bases with a fork then put back in the fridge to chill for half an hour. 

10. Just before you take the cases back out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 160C fan and then make your frangipane. Do this by creaming together the butter and sugar, mixing in the egg and folding in the flour and ground almonds.

11. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and spoon the blueberry filling into the base of each case, dividing as evenly as possible. 

 
12. Do the same with the frangipane, being careful not to mix this into the blueberry too much, but it is difficult and requires patience!

  13. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the pastry and topping are golden. 

  Carefully remove from the tin (a sharp knife may help) and sprinkle with icing sugar.

  
Enjoy with a cup of tea!