An excellent savoury pastry for a pie or a tart, this pastry works out every time for us. The trick is to add the iced water to the yolk, not to overwork the mixture and to keep everything as cold as possible.
Serves 1 tart or pie
8oz plain flour 4oz cold butter A pinch of salt 1 egg yolk 3 tablespoons of iced water
Food processor method 1. Put the flour and salt in the processor and pulse it a few times to aerate it. 2. Add the cold butter in chunks through the funnel. Pulse until the mixture starts to become like breadcrumbs. Don't overpulse as the heat of the processor will heat the mixture. The aim is to keep everything as cool as possible. 3. Whisk the iced water with the egg yolk. Pour it in and pulse until everything starts to clump. If you need to add a little more cold water, do, but just a tiny bit first, then another tiny bit if you need it. 4. When it begins to clump, take it out and squish it together gently into a ball. Cover in tin foil or cling film and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. If you need to speed it up, put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and leave it to soften before rolling. This quantity will give you enough pastry to cover the bottom of a 7-8 inch pie tin and enough for the top. 5. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured board. Lay the rolled out pastry into a greased pie dish. Press gently until it fits into each crevice. Roll the rolling pin across the top to cut off the pastry evenly. 6. Fill as usual and bake in a preheated oven at 200º Centigrade/370º Fahrenheit /Gas Mark 6 until the pastry is brown and crisp (about 40-45) minutes depending on the filling.
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 overwork. 2. Whisk the ice water with the egg yolk. Pour it in to the flour mixture and mix with a fork, until it comes together. Press together into a ball. This quantity will give you enough pastry to cover the bottom of a 7-8 inch pie tin and enough for the top. Continue from step 5 above.
To bake blind Baking blind means you bake the pastry without filling until it is cooked, so that you can fill it when it is cold. When the pastry is in the dish or tin, line the pastry with greaseproof paper, then fill with baking beans (you can buy them in a cookshop). Bake in a preheated oven at 200º Centigrade/370º Fahrenheit /Gas Mark 6 for about 15 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove the paper and beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Now your tart is ready to fill. (You can also use uncooked rice instead of baking beans. When you have finished with the rice, pour it into a jar and seal and you can keep using it for years.)
Cook's note – The more water you add to pastry, the more shrinkage you get in the oven. The water evaporates in the heat and it dries out and shrinks.