Tips on how to bake the perfect pastry!

Baking requires a certain degree of accuracy, or it simply wont work. Not enough butter makes pastry tough, for example, while too much sugar will cause it to burn.

This recipe is quite easy as it simply follows the ratio 1:2:3 – that’s one part sugar to two parts butter and three parts flour, making six parts in total.

For a shorter texture this recipe includes an egg yolk. A tablespoon of milk would suffice if you don’t have any eggs.

Using salted butter gives the pastry more depth of flavour but if you only have unsalted butter available you can add a pinch a salt. Don’t be tempted to substitute granulated sugar for caster, as the granulated sugar crystals are too large and will not give you evenly coloured pastry.

You can add flavourings to this pastry if you like, such as a little lemon zest, vanilla or cinnamon.

From here on, you just need to work out how much pastry you need to line a pie tin or some tartlet cases to get you the right quantity.

50g caster sugar
1 medium egg yolk
100g salted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
150g plain flour

Put the sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl, combine briefly with a wooden spoon, then add the chilled butter. Using the spoon or your fingers, blend them until they come together. You can also do this using a freestanding electric mixer. Sift in the flour and quickly work everything into a dough. Shape into a flat slab, wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour before use. The pastry will keep in the fridge for 5 days and can also be frozen, well wrapped.

Once chilled, roll onto a lightly floured surface to 3-4mm thick and use to line a loose-bottomed tart tin. Trim off the excess and chill the pastry case for 30 minutes.