Shortcrust Pastry :
This recipe makes the nicest shortcrust pastry, so, do as I say + you’ll never want to eat anyone else’s tart’s again :
Ingredients: 6oz Plain White Flour. 3oz Flora white or similar soft fat. Sugar for the Tart + Caster Sugar for the top when it comes out of the oven. A pinch of Salt. 1 glass/jug of cold water. 1 oven proof deep plate. 1 very small glass of milk + a pastry brush.
You will need a med / large baking bowl, an oven proof plate (either ceramic or glass) + a fork.
Method: 1st – Wipe the usable side of the plate all over with a small piece of the Flora white or similar.
2nd – Sieve the flour into the baking bowl, this really should be done from approx 12 inches above the rim of the bowl.
3rd – Once all of the flour is in the bowl, sprinkle the pinch of salt into it, next place the 3oz of fat into the bowl on top of the flour.
4th – With clean fingers (the preferred way, but you can wear thin rubber gloves for this, + no rings or bracelets or you’ll end up having to wash them out with a toothbrush) start to rub the soft fat into the flour.
5th – When all of the fat is successfully rubbed in, pour in the water (a little at a time) and mix it with the flour, until it resembles a smooth ball of dough.
6th – Sprinkle a little flour on the surface you are using to roll out the ball of dough, also, rub the rolling pin with some flour as well. Cut the ball of dough in two, making the side that will go on top of the filling slightly bigger, (it depends on the amount of filling you intend to use).
7th – Using the rolling pin, roll out the base side + place it on the greased plate.
8th – For an Apple tart, peel the cooking apples, then cut them into slices, place the slices of apples on top of the pastry making sure you leave space around the rim to press both sides of dough together, to seal the apples + their flavour in.
9th – Place the 2nd sheet of dough on top, pressing it down on the rim of the plate by using the fork, once you have this done, use a kitchen knife to cut off the spare pastry. Using the fork next, prick the pastry to allow excess heat to escape. Finally, using the pastry brush, paint the dough on top of the filling with the milk, this will give the pastry a lovely golden shade when it comes out of the oven.
10th – Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, place the tart on the middle shelf and bake for approx 30mins – 45mins, or until the pastry is a gorgeous golden color. On taking it out of the oven place it on a wire tray to cool down.