For some bizarre reason, I got it into my head last week to make shortcrust pastry from scratch, even though I had to be at uni 30 minutes later. I remembered the cookbook that came with my Kenwood food processor had a recipe in it and it was actually even easier than I expected, despite the fact that we (at that stage) did not own a rolling pin –
A half empty wine bottle works just as well, in case you were wondering
This recipe can be used for anything that you would use frozen shortcrust pastry for… and you can even whip up a batch to store in the freezer. I made a huge roast veggie frittata to share with my family.
The key to making perfectly flakey shortcrust is to keep the mixture as cold as possible the whole time. Starting out with cold to frozen butter is the key, as is not touching it much with warm hands. That is why it is easiest to make using a food processor (but if you don’t have one I’m sure it could still be made without). Also, when they say to add iced water – make sure that is as cold as possible (mine still had ice cubes floating in it).
Sure, making from scratch takes time, which I know we do not have too much to spare – but is so worth it in the end! I made it again yesterday for pie-day Friday and it was a hit again!
Shortcrust pastry (for a large tray, extra can be frozen before baking):
250g plain flour
120g cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
2-4 tbsp iced water
In a food processor, put the flour, salt and butter in with the knife blade. Process for around 30 sec. Add the egg yolks and pulse until just mixed. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between, until the mixture starts to stick together.
Take the mixture out of the processor, quickly pull it into a ball, wrap in gladwrap and store in the fridge for at least 20 min (can do this the day prior).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cut 2 pieces of baking paper just larger than the pan you need to fill (to give yourself a guide for size). Roll the pastry out between the pieces of paper, turning frequently, until it is large enough to fit the tray you are using. Peel the paper off one side and transfer the pastry into the pan, pressing in on the corners.
Stab the bottom of the tray with a fork and cover with some baking paper or foil and fill with baking beans (or dried beans/chickpeas/rice – just don’t eat them after). Bake for 15 min. Remove the baking paper and beans and return to the oven for another 10 min or until golden brown. The pastry case is now ready for filling (and can be stored in an airtight container for a day).
As per your tastes, choose an array of veggies:
Some type of cheese: I used feta and crumbled it over the top before cooking
Herbs, to your taste: Italian parsley and basil from our garden
Eggs, depending on your size of pan – this one required 6
Roast large pieces of pumpkin, sweet potato and other root vegetables in the oven until softened and browned. Meanwhile, fry onion, red capsicum and mushrooms. I grilled my cherry tomatoes to dry them out a little and poached the asparagus. The key is to pre-cook all the vegetables so when the fritatta is in the oven very little cooking is required (just to solidify the eggs).
Layer all of the cooked vegetables (including roasted pumpkin etc) and herbs in your shortcrust shell (my photos were taken at this stage). Whisk the eggs together, season, crumble feta on top and put in the oven until the eggs have solidified. You may need to cover the shortcrust edges with foil so that they don’t burn if they are quite brown from the pre-cooking stage.
NOTE: if you don’t have time, of course you can use frozen shortcrust, or no shortcrust at all (much healthier option)
Shortcrust recipe from: (Kenwood) Creative Food Processor Cooking
Photos from: my camera