We’ve found this recipe to be a reliable one for making versatile short-crust pastry. The recipe is easy to remember as a 400–200–100 ratio of flour–butter–salt+water.
Don’t overwork the dough. We are not trying to develop gluten and we don’t want to melt the butter during the kneading process.
Before prepping ingredients, place a mixing bowl, the blade of the food processor and the food processor bowl in the fridge or freezer.
Butter, cold, cubed
Combine in the bowl of a food processor.
Process for 15–20 seconds until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Transfer to the cold mixing bowl.
Add to mixing bowl A.
Use fingertips like a whisk to incorporate the water into the mixture.
Pastry flour, for dusting
Add to mixing bowl and incorporate.
Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface.
Knead gently and briefly to create a soft and pliable dough.
Transfer back to mixing bowl and wrap the dough with plastic wrap.
Place in the fridge to relax for 20 minutes before using.
It is a good idea to try and keep the equipment cold during the making of this pastry. If you have a freezer which is big enough, place the mixing bowl and food processor components in there for around 1 hour before starting.
Do not overwork the dough when kneading. It is easy for the heat of your hands to melt the butter in the dough and this will make the pastry greasy. An interesting approach is to place your hands in ice water for around 15 seconds and them dry them and begin kneading. Knead for around 45 seconds before cooling your hands again.