The pastry is often used as the base for most sweet tarts and pies. Sweet short pastry differs from normal pastry as this pastry is enriched with more butter and sugar. The egg yolk in the mixture gives the pastry a nice golden yellow colour. I like to use icing sugar instead of caster sugar, as caster sugar makes a grainy pastry. The addition of sugar also makes a more crumbly pastry. I think making your own pastry is better than buying shop brought pastry. As I believe you get a more buttery flavour from homemade pastry. The sugar and high butter content of this pastry makes the pastry very "short" which makes the pastry melt in your mouth. This recipe almost uses a 2:1 ratio of flour to butter, which makes the pastry short and crumbly.
The key to this recipe is not to knead the pastry too much as this will build up the gluten strands, causing the pastry to be chewy and tough to eat. It is important to keep the butter as cool as possible. By doing this the butter will not ooze out of the dough when it is rolled out. This recipe will be enough to line 1 x 23cm tart tin.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
175g Plain Flour
100g Cold Butter
25g Icing Sugar
1 x Egg Yolk
1 Tbsp Cold Water
1. Cut the butter into small cubes. There are two ways to make this pastry: by hand or in a food processor. Place the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. When the butter is rubbed in with the flour, the fat in the butter coats the flour, which prevents the formation of gluten strands.
2. Add the egg yolk and water, pulse slowly until the ingredients clump together. At this stage tip the mixture onto a floured surface and form the mixture into a ball. Then kneed the pastry 2-4 times. Do not over work the pastry, as this will cause gluten strands to form.
3. Finally over the pastry in cling film and then leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until it is need. This will relax the gluten strands in the pastry; this will stop the pastry from shrinking when baked.
TIP – If the dough tears or is not the shape you want it can be rolled out again however, it will need to be chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes in order to relax the gluten strands and this will also help to prevent the pastry from shrinking when baking.
TIP – Roll the pastry to a thickness of around 3mm as this will help prevent the pastry from being under cooked and having a soggy bottom.