How to make Pie or Tart pastry

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This is an excellent savoury pastry for a pie or a tart – if you follow the instructions, it should work out every time. The trick is to add the iced water to the yolk, not to overwork the mixture and to keep everything as cold as possible.

Makes enough pastry for the top and bottom of a 1 x 7 inch tart or pie (recipe doubles easily)


250g plain flour
A pinch of salt
125g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons of iced water


Food processor method

1. Place the flour and salt in the processor and pulse it a few times to aerate it.

2. Add the cold butter through the funnel. Pulse until the mixture starts to become like breadcrumbs. Don’t over work it as the heat of the processor will heat the mixture. The aim is to keep everything as cool as possible.

3. Whisk the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of iced water. Pour it in and pulse until everything starts to clump. If you need to add a little more cold water do, but add just a tiny bit first, then another tiny bit if you need it.

4. When it begins to clump, pour the mixture onto a large sheet of cling film and squish it together gently into a ball.

5. Seal the cling film and chill the pastry in the fridge for 20 minutes to an hour. If you need to speed up the chilling, put the pastry in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and leave to soften before rolling. Use as per your recipe.

To make pastry in a bowl

1. Put the flour and salt in a large round bowl.  Add the butter and cut into the flour with two knifes until you have breadcrumbs. Don’t over work the mixture.

2. Whisk 2 tablespoons of iced water with the egg yolk. Pour it on to the flour mixture and mix with a fork, until it comes together only adding more water if you need to. Press the mixture together into a ball. Continue from step 5 above.

Recipe Note

– The more water you add to pastry the more shrinkage you get in the oven. The water evaporates in the heat and the pastry dries out and shrinks.

– Make double this quantity of pastry and freeze one batch.

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