- ‘Cold in the making; brisk in the baking’ is the traditional motto for pastry makers. It means keep the butter cold, work quickly and always use a hot oven to cook pastry.
- Chill any water you use and chill the mixing bowl too.
- Use as little water as possible to reduce shrinking when the pastry cooks. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the water will help keep pastry tender.
- Use a round-bladed table knife to mix the liquid into the flour, cutting through the mixture until it clumps together.
- You can make short pastry quickly in a food processor, but stop processing when the mixture begins to form clumps. Tip the mixture out onto the bench and knead quickly to bring it together, using the heel of your hand.
- Always chill pastry for at least 10 minutes before rolling it out.
- Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use light strokes of the rolling pin, always working away from you. Keep rotating the pastry on the board.
- Drape the pastry over your rolling pin to lift it onto the baking dish or tin.
- And remember, practise makes perfect. Make pastry often so that it will not be a worrying challenge but a staple of your repertoire – and a guarantee of compliments!
If you need to save time you can use the Edmonds range of ready-rolled or block flaky puff, filo and short pastries available in the freezer section of most supermarkets.
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