This recipe will give you enough plain shortcrust pastry to line an 8 inch, (20 cm), round pie plate or dish and make a pastry lid, or to line a deep 8 inch, (20 cm, flan tin.

Use this pastry for meat pies, pasties, vegetable pies, or flans or any other main course recipes that require an unsweetened pastry.

You will need:

  • 8 oz, 225 g, of plain flour.
  • a small pinch of salt.
  • 2 oz, 50 g, of lard or other hard cooking fat.
  • 2 oz, 50 g, of margarine.
  • several tablespoons of cold water to mix.

For best results use your fat and margarine straight from the fridge.

  1. Begin by sifting your flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Break your lard-fat and margarine into small pieces and drop it into the flour.
  3. Now, use your fingers and thumbs of both hands to pick up a little bit of the mixture each time to rub the fat into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Rub your thumbs against your fingers, letting the mixture trickle back into the bowl each time.
  4. Repeat the process until you can’t feel any more little sticky pieces of fat left in the flour mixture. Giving the bowl a gentle shake will bring them to the top so that you can find them easily.
  5. Don’t be tempted to overwork the mixture though or it will begin to stick together again. It would help if you could keep your hands as cool as possible while you make the pastry. .
  6. Now, gradually add enough cold water to bring the mixture into a ball in your bowl. Use a flat bladed knife to stir it until the mix begins to come together, then your hands to bring it into a ball, but if any bits of dry mixture are still in the bottom of your bowl, just drop your pastry back in, add another tablespoon of cold water, and mix it again until you have a nice pliable dough. (Please see my Glossary section on making and rolling out pastry for more detailed information).