Butter Shortcrust

Butter Shortcrust

I go back and forth between butter and shortening for my pie crusts. I love the flakiness of a shortening crust, as well as its suitability for using my Perfect-A-Crust to roll it out. (Perfect-A-Crust is an aid for rolling consistent crusts. They don’t make them anymore, but you can sometimes find them on eBay. You can see mine in action here.) For these reasons, I usually keep going back to shortening. Butter crusts are a little more finicky when it’s hot and don’t work with the Perfect-A-Crust, but have marvelous flavor. I also don’t think they hold up as well the next day in a fruit pie; they tend to get either soggy or tough. For a custard tart, though, nothing but a butter crust will do. This crust from BBC Good Food is quick and easy, and utterly delicious. Check back next week to see the tart I made with this!

Ingredients:

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8 oz (225 g) flour, or 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons

3½ oz (100 g) cold butter, or 7 tablespoons

pinch salt

2 to 3 tablespoons water

9” (23 cm) tart pan

Preparation:

1.) Cut the butter up into ½” (1 cm) cubes.

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2.) Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cubed butter. Pulse repeatedly, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is uniform but not smooth; about the texture of coarse cornmeal.

3.) With the machine running, pour the water through the feed tube one tablespoon at a time. The mixture will still look very crumbly in the bowl. It should not be smooth or wet.

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4.) Turn it out onto a clean, lightly flour-dusted work surface. Gather the crumbly dough with your hands, compressing and kneading to bring it together. The right side of the picture shows how crumbly it was before kneading.

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5.) Form the dough into a smooth, flat disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Pop it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

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6.) Remove the dough from the wrap and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into an 11” to 12” circle with a floured rolling pin. To keep the dough from sticking, rotate the circle 90º between passes, sprinkling just a touch of extra flour if needed.

7.) Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin to transport it, rolling it back out onto the tart or pie plate.

8.) Press along the bottom edges with the back of a finger to mold the dough to the plate shape. Trim the edges so that the dough extends past the tin’s rim by about ½” (1 cm).

9.) For a pie, fold the dough under around the edge and flute as desired. For a custard tart, fold the excess dough down into the tin and press gently to seal.

To precook for a custard tart or other non-baked filling:

10.) Line the dough with parchment paper, then fill with piecrust baking beads. I couldn’t find mine, so I used rice. Now pop it in the fridge for half an hour. (This had no effect on the rice. I cooked some as usual later, and you couldn’t tell it had been baked.)

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11.) Preheat the oven to 400º F (200º C). Bake the crust for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Carefully lift out the parchment and beads. I wasn’t sure I could lift it all at once, so I used a measuring cup to remove some of the rice first. Return the crust to the oven and bake another 5 minutes or until flakey.

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Butter Shortcrust

  • Servings: Makes 1 pie crust
  • Print

Ingredients

8 oz (225 g) flour, or 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons

3½ oz (100 g) cold butter, or 7 tablespoons

pinch salt

2 to 3 tablespoons water

9” (23 cm) tart pan

Directions

1.) Cut the butter up into ½” (1 cm) cubes.

2.) Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cubed butter. Pulse repeatedly, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is uniform but not smooth; about the texture of coarse cornmeal.

3.) With the machine running, pour the water through the feed tube one tablespoon at a time. The mixture will still look very crumbly in the bowl. It should not be smooth or wet.

4.) Turn it out onto a clean, lightly flour-dusted work surface. Gather the crumbly dough with your hands, compressing and kneading to bring it together.

5.) Form the dough into a smooth, flat disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Pop it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

6.) Remove the dough from the wrap and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into an 11” to 12” circle with a floured rolling pin. To keep the dough from sticking, rotate the circle 90º between passes, sprinkling just a touch of extra flour if needed.

7.) Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin to transport it, rolling it back out onto the tart or pie plate.

8.) Press along the bottom edges with the back of a finger to mold the dough to the plate shape. Trim the edges so that the dough extends past the tin’s rim by about ½” (1 cm).

9.) For a pie, fold the dough under around the edge and flute as desired. For a custard tart, fold the excess dough down into the tin and press gently to seal.

To precook for a custard tart or other non-baked filling:

10.) Line the dough with parchment paper, then fill with piecrust baking beads. I couldn’t find mine, so I used rice. Now pop it in the fridge for half an hour.

11.) Preheat the oven to 400º F (200º C). Bake the crust for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Carefully lift out the parchment and beads. Return the crust to the oven and bake another 5 minutes or until flakey.

 

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