My obsession with a good homemade pie is no secret. My Instagram is full of frequent savoury pie photos! Not to mention the odd sweet one too.
Making shortcrust pastry and homemade pies might seem daunting, but with the right recipe and a few key pieces of equipment you will find it very easy, not to mention extremely rewarding. One of my favourite things to do on a relaxing weekend is to spend some time in the afternoon making shortcrust pastry and carefully transforming it into an artistic creation. It’s so therapeutic I promise you’ll love it!
Shortcrust Pastry Recipe
A pie ain’t a pie without that glorious savoury shortcrust pastry!
- 250g plain flour
- 110g cold salted butter
- 1.5 tbsp mixed herbs
- 6 tbsp cold water
- 1 egg
To do your shortcrust pastry justice, you’ll need a few key items that will keep the process easy, fun and the results delicious.
- Rolling pin
- Springform, perforated tin: this is the perfect size for 4 people and will keep your shortcrust pastry crisp.
- Baking beads: these will keep the base of your shortcrust pastry level when bling baking.
- Metal ruler: Ideal for neat decorative sections, this makes all the difference to the presentation of your pie!
- Pastry cutter: Doesn’t pull on the edges of your pastry like a knife, again making your decoration neater.
- Pastry brush: for easy application of your egg wash, which is what makes your pastry lovely and golden.
How to Make Shortcrust Pastry
Start by adding your flour herbs and cold, cubed butter to a bowl. It is very important that you butter is cold and cut into cubes, aim for dice-size.
You’re going to make a crumb, by using clean hands to rub together the flour and butter between your finger tips. After a few minutes (and admittedly, a little hand cramp!) you’ll be ready when you have an even, crumb-like texture. There should be no large pieces of butter left.
All you need to do now is add the water. Use a wooden spoon to mix this in until a rough dough has formed. At this point you can tip the dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and use your hand to work the dough until it comes together.
The dough may feel dry and crumbly at first, but be careful not to add more water as you need just enough to bind it. Too much moisture in your shortcrust pastry will stop it from becoming lovely and flakey when it cooks.
Once you have a smooth dough ball, wrap your shortcrust pastry in some cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
How to Roll Your Shortcrust Pastry
Here comes the fun bit! Shortcrust pastry is a lovely dough to work with because it isn’t very sticky.
Flour your work surface and rolling pin and place your dough ready for rolling. The general rule is to always roll way from you, and to turn the pastry rather than your direction of rolling.
Start by rolling into a thick disc. Work the dough out little by little so you don’t end up with uneven thicknesses. Keep rolling and turning your dough until it is about 5-7cm thick. The shortcrust pastry should be thin enough that it can fold easily into the nooks and crannies of your pie tin, but not so thin that it feels delicate and likely to tear.
Carefully pick up your rolled out shortcrust pastry and place over your pie tin. Now, lift the side of the pastry and allow the dough to fall into the corners of the tin. Use your fingers to gently mould the dough to the edges of the tin.
Once you have a neat mould of the tin, cut away the excess shortcrust pastry by taking your rolling pin and rolling over the top. This will create a lovely neat edge. Finally, prick your pastry base with a fork all over. Neatly – think shortbread!
Remember! Don’t throw away the excess pastry; this will be used for the pie lid and decoration!
How to Cook Your Shortcrust Pastry
Preheat your oven to 180c. The first stage of creating the perfect shortcrust pastry pie is to blind bake the pastry base. Add some greaseproof paper to the inside of your pastry base and pour on top some baking beads. These are ideal for weighing down the pastry as it cooks so it remains a nice, flat base, and also aids even cooking.
Add your shortcrust pastry to the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
How to Decorate Your Shortcrust Pastry Pie.
This bit is immensely fun! When your pie base is removed from the oven and your filling added, it is time to make your pie look beautiful.
When filling the pie, be generous and use the back of a wooden spoon to gently press the filling into the corners and to create a level surface, no higher than the top edge of the pastry base.
Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough to the same thickness and the base. Place the pastry on top of your pie and use the rolling pin to trim the edges once more.
With the remaining dough, use this for creating decoration. Roll this out once more (same thickness) but this time into a rectangular shape.
I recommend a border to the edge of your pie; it always makes the finished thing look really special. Using a metal ruler and pastry cutter for best results, cut out strands of pastry:
- Crimping: a twisted effect, using your index finger to hold the dough to the pie surface, and your thumb from your other hand to fold over the pastry strand to create a twist. Cut a strand about 2cm wide for this effect.
- Plaiting: cut three pastry strands about 7mm wide. Place in parallel on a work surface and crimp the the strands together at one end. Carefully plait them, puling a little on the pastry strands as you go to get a slim and elegant plait.
Tip: use decoration to cover the joins of your border. Try a leaf shape, or a heart.
Lattice is unbelievably satisfying to do and looks so effective. You will need to cut numerous strands, about a dosen, about 1cm wide. (you can of course go bigger or smaller, but let’s start in the middle!)
Start by placing strands evenly across one direction of your pie. Next, one strand at a time, feed a strand at 90 degrees, going over and under the other strands. Continue the process, ensuring each strand fed through alternatives going over and under (so, if the last strand started under, the next one should start over).
Once fed through, take a little time to adjust the strands so they are all evenly spaces and straight. Use a small knife to trim away the edges of the strands.
I love putting little messages on my pies. It’s good fun! Simply state the filling of the pie, the name of a holiday you’re celebrating, or even a cute message for those eating it.
Invest in some alphabet pastry cutters and get creative with your messages!
When you’re done decorating, egg wash is crucial to making sure your shortcrust pastry comes out of the oven with a glorious, deep golden shiny glaze.
Beat an egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to carefully coat all of the pie topping in an even wash of egg. Be sure to pay attention to all nooks and crannies.
Cook Your Pie Once More
Place your lovely shortcrust pastry pie into the oven at 180c for 15-20 minutes, until the top looks lovely a golden brown. The fruits of your labour will be a beautiful, very professional pie that will have everyone eating it singing your praises!
Savoury shortcrust pastry pies are incredibly versatile and go wonderfully with a range of sides:
- Roast potatoes
- Baked beans
- Sautéed creamed greens
- Mashed poatoes
- Cold with a salad
Pin it For Later
I hope that this post has been useful – pin a pic for later, for easy access to this recipe and tips.
Share Your Cooking!
Share a pic of your creation and I’ll save it to my Instagram profile!
- Tag me at @jogirleatsworld
- Use my hashtag #cookiteatitliveit