Monday, February 4, 2008
Basic Pie Shell
2 cups plain flour
4.5 oz unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
Place the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of water at a time (the amount you use will depend on your flour, usually 3-4 tablespoons should suffice) and process until the mixture comes together to form a smooth ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out. (The gluten in flour needs to rest or the pastry will shrink when cooked.)
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough rotating at a 90° angle every few rolls until the dough is about 3/4 inch thick.
Next, lightly grease a 9 inch loose-bottomed, fluted tart pan. Gently fold 3 sides of the dough into the centre and place the dough over the tart pan, making sure the edges are in the middle of the pan. Unfold, letting the excess pastry drop over the sides and press the dough into the corners of the pan. Lift the overhanging pastry and press into the side edges of the pan. When all the pastry is pressed into the sides and base, run your rolling pin over the top edge of the tart pan. (The pan's sharp edge will trim off any excess pastry; keep the excess pastry to patch any holes after baking.) Refrigerate for a further 10 minutes (again to pastry shrinkage).
Preheat the oven to 400 F . Cut a sheet of baking paper just bigger than the tart shell.
Place in the pie shell, then fill with rice or pastry weights and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and weights and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to crisp and dry out.