The secret to a perfect fluffy shortcrust pastry is to refrain from over 'working' the dough. Follow this simplified recipe to achieve just that.
250g of plain flour
50g of icing sugar
125g of cold cubed butter
1 large free range egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of cold milk
Sift your flour and icing sugar into a bowl and add the cubed butter.
Using your fingers, rub the mixture together till you have a breadcrumb consistency. Alternatively you can pulse
the mixture in a food processor for about a minute.
In a bowl whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Fold the mixture gently, making sure not to over work the dough.
The mixture might look like this, but don't worry. Place the dough in a cling film and roll into a ball as below.
Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes.
Oil a 7 inch loose based flan tin with vegetable oil using a paper napkin. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cling film. Place the pastry in the middle of the tin.
Using your finger tips gently spread the dough evenly till the tin is covered as above. Place your pastry back in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 180*c
Scrunch a grease proof paper or baking paper and place on top of the dough. Using beans, rice or baking beans cover the surface of the greas proof paper with your preference aforementioned.
Place the pastry in the oven for 19-25 minutes. Remove the grease proof paper with the baking beans from the pastry. Bake the pastry for another 6 minutes till it starts to brown. Remember you don't need to brown it more at this stage as it will go through further baking with a filling later.
Alternatively use a fork to make holes in the pastry base, egg wash the pastry with egg white and bake for 20-25 min. This is the simplest and quickest method personally to blind baking a pastry.
Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about 6 minutes before adding your filling.
All photos are by owner of this blog.