I’ve been having fun baking batches of an assortment of sweet tarts these last couple of weeks. It all started with a batch of mini lemon meringue tarts and it’s sort of mushroomed since then.
My first batch was a little underwhelming. You see, I was a little short on time so thought I’d cheat and use some store bought pastry cases.
While it requires a little more forethought, I learnt the hard way that making your own pastry is THE ONLY way to go. The good news it, it really isn’t very difficult at all. It just requires a little time and patience. But the reward is worth it.
So before I start sharing with you some of the delicious tarts I’ve been making, I thought it would be good to get down to basics and share a simple recipe for sweet pastry.
This is a great basic recipe and can be easily adapted to suit your taste, or that of the particular tart or pie you’re making, by replacing the vanilla seeds with the zest of a lemon, lime or orange. Just remember cold is key with this recipe. Make sure the butter is cold as is the water and don’t scrimp on resting time in the fridge!
The pastry can be made in advance and, if you don’t use it all in one go, can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or a couple of months in the freezer.
So I suggest you check your pantry now and if necessary restock because trust me, you’ll be wanting to make you’re own pretty soon.
- 330g plain four
- 100g icing sugar
- 180g cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp cold water
- Combine the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter cubes and vanilla seeds. Using your fingers, gently work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs*.
- Add the egg yolk and water to the flour mixture and combine until the mixture comes together to form the dough. Knead very lightly and shape into a round ball. Take care not to overwork the dough at this stage.
- Lightly dust a clean surface and rolling pin with a little flour. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place on the work surface.
- Flatten the ball into a round disc, approximately 5 cm thick, then wrap in cling-film and place in the fridge to rest for at least 1 hour or until ready to use**.
- *You can use a food processor for this step if you have one.
- **The pastry should keep in the fridge for a week, and up to about 2 months in the freezer. If you do freeze your pastry, take it out of the freezer the night before you intend to use it and place it in the fridge until ready to roll out the next day.