Shortcrust pastry

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Shortcrust pastry
A shortcrust pastry pie crust
A shortcrust pastry pie crust
Type Pastry
Main ingredients Fat (lard, shortening, butter or full-fat margarine), flour, water[1]
Cookbook: Shortcrust pastry  Media: Shortcrust pastry

Shortcrust pastry is a type of pastry often used for the base of a tart, quiche or pie. Shortcrust pastry can be used to make both sweet and savory pies such as apple pie, quiche, lemon meringue or chicken pie.

Proportions[edit]

It is based on a "half-fat-to-flour" ratio (twice as much flour as fat by weight). Fat (lard, shortening, butter or full-fat margarine) is rubbed into plain flour to create a loose mixture that is then bound using a small amount of ice water, rolled out, then shaped and placed to create the top or bottom of a flan or pie. Ideally, equal amounts of butter and lard are used to make the pastry, ensuring that the ratio of the two fat products is half that of the flour. The butter is employed to give the pastry a rich flavor, whilst the lard ensures optimum texture.

Types[edit]

  • Pâte à foncer is French shortcrust pastry that includes egg. Egg and butter are worked together with a small quantity of sugar and salt before the flour is drawn into the mixture and cold water added to bind it.[2]
  • Pâte brisée is similar to pâte à foncer, but is lighter and more delicate due to an increased quantity of butter — up to three fifths the quantity of flour. Very often is made with no sugar, as a savoury crust for pies.[2]
  • Pâte sucrée (sweetcrust pastry, sweet dough, or sweet paste) is made with the addition of sugar, which sweetens the mix and impedes the gluten strands, creating a pastry that breaks up easily in the mouth. An alternative is gluten-free pastry.
  • Pâté Sablé same ingredients as pâté sucrée, but the butter is creamed with the sugar and the eggs before the flour is folded in. This mixes the butter more evenly, which makes the dough puff much less, creating a more "snappy" and dry pastry, instead of the crumbly texture of the previous doughs. Sablés work better for sweet tarts, tea biscuits, and piped shapes than other short doughs, as they hold their shape much more efficiently, and are the basis for gingerbread and sandwich biscuits. No water is needed, neither is the dough particularly temperature-sensitive.

Techniques[edit]

In preparing a shortcrust, it is important that the fat and flour are "cut" into each other, rather than blended, and that the ingredients are kept very cold. This ensures that the fat remains distinct in the crust, and when it heats during baking, steam is released, resulting in the pockets that make a flaky crust.[3] It is also important to add water only once the fat and flour are thoroughly combined. This ensures that the flour granules are adequately coated with fat and are less likely to develop gluten.[citation needed] This may be achieved with the use of a food processor, a specialized kitchen utensil called a pastry blender, or through various alternatives, like a pair of table knives held in one hand.

Overworking the dough is also a hazard. Overworking elongates the gluten strands, creating a product that is tough, rather than light and crumbly or flaky.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shortcrust pastry". BBC Food. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Roux, Michel (2010) [First published 2008]. "Shortcrust pastries". Pastry. London: Quadrille Publishing. pp. 20–23. ISBN 978-1-84400-827-8. 
  3. ^ Ackere, by the editors of Cook's illustrated ; illustrations, John Burgoyne ; photography, Carl Tremblay, Keller + Keller, Daniel Van. Baking illustrated : a best recipe classic (1st ed.). Brookline, Massachusetts. ISBN 0936184752. OCLC 54454496.