Now however thanks to a recipe passed down from Kirstie’s Nanny Pat, to her Mum and now to her, we have mastered the art of creating short crust pastry with minimum fuss, with minimum time in the fridge but with maximum deliciousness. Proving that with recipes (like music) the oldies really are the goodies.
The only catch is you need a food processor (we aren’t pastry chefs; adding warm hands to the mix was just a step too far!) to achieve that perfect short, crumbly, light pastry! But the brilliant thing is that once you have mastered this brilliant pastry then you can turn it into so many delicious meals and desserts that you will find yourself whipping up a batch every other day; especially if like us you have some hungry men at home demanding that they be allowed at least some of the jam tarts reserved for customers!
So when you are enjoying your first batch of Jam Tarts (and I would recommend a lovely Whole Plum Jam to fill them) give thanks to Nanny Pat for saving our skins with her seriously good short crust pastry!
(Nanny Pat's recipe is in imperial but have included the metric in brackets for ease!)
plain flour 9oz/255g
butter 5oz /142g
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
Before starting place an ice cube in a glass and set aside for later. Then separate out your egg yolk.
Weigh out the flour and place into the food processor with a pinch of salt. Then chop the butter, straight from the fridge, into cubes and add to the flour. Switch the processor on high speed for a minute; the mix should resemble fine breadcrumbs, if not blitz for a moment longer.
A good way to ensure consistency is to give the processor a shake (when off, of course) and if any big lumps rise to the surface then you know it needs longer!
Once you have the desired size crumbs add the egg yolk whilst the processor is still running. Now comes the crucial stage; once the yolk has been fully mixed in add a few drops of water (from the glass that held the ice cube) at a time until the mixture comes together in the processor. To make sure you only add the minimum water needed wait five seconds between adding a couple of drops to allow it time to form together. As soon as it forms together switch the processor off and turn the pastry out onto a clean work surface.
Now you may have a misshapen lump of pastry with a few bits falling off but fear not! Using the tips of your fingers to keep the pastry as cool as possible gently knead the dough until it comes together to form a slightly squished ball. Squishing the ball down slightly, just makes it easier to roll out afterwards.
Place in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
When ready lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pastry until about 3-5mm thick depending on what you plan on making with the versatile stuff.
If making little tart cases blind bake for 15minutes at 180 centigrade and finish off for 3 minutes once you have removed the baking beans and liner. (Remember to prick the base of any tart you are blind baking with a fork before lining.) If you are after a large tart case blind bake for 20 minutes at 180 centigrade before finishing off for 5minutes. Obviously if you're making mince pies or any sort of yummy cooked pie then just fill the tart case up and bake as normal.