Homemade shortcrust pastry or pie crusts are super easy to make, it takes only a few minutes and you know exactly what you’ve put in it. Buying shortcrust pastry sheets can mean that you are using palm oil for e.g. Jus-Roll, a common brand in the UK uses palm oil (a big culprit in deforestation) in their shortcrust pastry sheets along with alcohol, margarine and sugar. You do get sustainable palm oil, but this will be marked clearly on the ingredients list.
Shortcrust pastry or pie crust should generally only contain flour, butter or vegan margarine (if you’re vegan), salt, ice water and sometimes lemon juice as my grandma would add.
It somehow feels super special to share your grandmother’s recipe, especially if she was a regular baking competition winner in her day. The recipe below comes out of her book of secrets, which means it contains lemon juice, an ingredient not completely common for pie crusts, but it adds a little something special to the basic version.
Shortcrust Pastry. Homemade Pie Crust
- 250 ml plain organic flour (1cup)
- 100 g organic butter (125ml)
- 1 tbsp ice-cold water
- 10 ml organic lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- Sift the flour and add the salt.
- Use either a pastry blender or rub the flour and butter gently between your fingers until it combines.
- Add the lemon juice and ice water. Knead lightly, wrap in re-usable food wax wrap and put in the fridge for roughly 2 hours or the freezer for 20 mins.
Preparing the Crust for Baking
Step 1: Once the pastry has been chilled and is quite hard and rigid you can remove from the fridge and place on a floured and clean surface.
Step 2: Roll the pastry into a round shape – it doesn’t have to be perfect as you can see from mine – until it’s slightly larger than your pastry dish.
Step 4: Shape the pastry into the pastry dish being careful not to stretch the pastry in any way.
Step 5: Remove the excess using a knife and prick the crust with a fork as shown. Then put it in the freezer for 10 mins or until it’s nice and solid again. Depending on the end-use for your crust you can now either blind bake it or if you’re using it for a quiche you can fill and bake, just note that the bottom of the crust won’t be as crumbly if you’re not blind baking the crust.
Blind Baking the Crust
To ensure that your crust is extra crumbly at the bottom as well as the sides, and if you have a bit of extra time you can blind bake your crust. I don’t normally do that for things like quiches as a speedy bake is more important to me.
To blind bake, line the prepared pie base with parchment paper, leaving plenty overhanging the edges. Next fill the base with baking beads, rice or flour to weigh the crust down. Then bring the overhanging parchment paper over the top to encase the filling. Bake at 210C/ 190C fan/ gas mark 7 for 10 minutes until the crust starts to brown, then take out of the oven and remove paper and beans. Lower the heat on the oven to 195C/175C fan/gas mark 5 and bake for another 15 minutes.of