Shortcrust pastry

Shortcrust pastry

Shortcrust pastry is a type of pastry often used for the base of a tart or pie. It does not puff up during baking because it usually contains no leavening agent. It is possible to make shortcrust pastry with self-raising flour, however.

Proportions

It is based on a "half-fat-to-flour" ratio. Fat (lard, butter or full-fat margarine) is rubbed into plain flour to create a loose mixture that is then bound using a small amount of water, rolled out, then shaped and placed to create the top or bottom of a flan or pie.

Sweet

Sweetcrust pastry is made with the addition of sugar, which sweetens the mix and impedes the gluten strands, creating a pastry that breaks up easily in the mouth..

Techniques

In both sweetcrust and shortcrust pastry, care must be taken to ensure that fat and flour are blended thoroughly before liquid is added - this ensures that the flour granules are adequately coated with fat and are less likely to develop gluten. Overworking the dough is also a hazard. Overworking elongates the gluten strands, creating a product that is chewy, as opposed to 'short', or light and crumbly.

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