Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a copy of Nordic Light - offer ends 23 April 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Lemon tart

It's really important to seal the pastry well to prevent any seepage during cooking, and to trim the pastry soon after cooking. Let the tart cool in the tin before removing it, or it will crack.

Spelt cashew and broccoli bowl with yoghurt dressing

This nicely textured salad transports well, making it ideal for picnics or to take to barbecues. The broccoli can be kept raw and shaved on a mandolin, too.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Shortcrust pastry


The number one rule to making a good fine and flaky shortcrust pastry is to chill. And we're not just talking about keeping your cool. Chill your ingredients, too. 

You'll need

250 gm (1 2/3 cups) plain flour 190 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped, chilled 1 egg yolk

Method

  • 01
  • Process flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form.
  • 02
  • Add egg yolk and enough chilled water (about 3-4 tsp) and process until mixture just forms a dough (2-4 seconds).
  • 03
  • Turn pastry onto a floured surface and lightly knead with the heel of your hand until the pastry comes together.
  • 04
  • Form pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (2-3 hours).
  • 05
  • Roll pastry, using a rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick.
  • 06
  • Brush excess flour from pastry with a pastry brush, then use pastry cutters to cut lining for individual cases or roll pastry backwards over rolling pin to lift pastry and line large tart case. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
  • 07
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Blind bake pastry until golden (15-25 minutes), then cool on a wire rack.

Note Makes forty 4cm tartlets, six 12cm tartlets or a 25cm tart.

Tartlet fillings for canapés 

1 Fill tartlet shells with a soft goat's curd or soft goat's cheese and top with a little spoonful of good-quality tapenade.

2 Char an eggplant over a gas flame or barbecue until blackened and soft. Cut across the base and sit in a colander for extra juices to drain. Halve lengthways, then scoop out flesh with a spoon and transfer to a food processor. Process with a finely chopped garlic clove, a tablespoon of tahini, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil until smooth. Season to taste and serve in tartlets, topped with a chopped parsley, red onion and caper salad.

3 For a touch of Welsh and Scottish flavour, add slices of smoked salmon or smoked ocean trout to tartlet shells along with some laverbread (available from Simon Johnson).


A well-made shortcrust is a thing of beauty.

We've all met our share of tough, soggy and simply unamusing pastries of this ilk. But a good one, pastry that crumbles, flakes and can hold and deliver its filling - sweet or savoury, soft or firm - intact makes for a memorable moment's eating.

To understand what makes pastry react in certain ways, you need to know a little science. Nowhere in cooking is the science more apparent and more important than in pastry-making. Flour and butter are the main ingredients of a shortcrust. Flour contains protein which, when mixed with water, becomes gluten. The gluten in bread or pasta dough needs to be worked thoroughly to create a strong result. With pastry, it's quite the opposite. Like most of us, it responds best to gentle manipulation. And like all of us, it prefers light and careful handling. Delicate handling, in other words, produces a delicate result.

Butter is the shortening agent. When we say 'short' in pastry terms, we're talking about the finished pastry's crumbly quality. The more butter, the shorter and flakier the pastry. For a good shortcrust pastry, the ratio is about two parts flour to one part butter. It's not wrong to add more butter if a shorter, crumblier pastry is what you're after. Just remember, the shorter your dough becomes, the more delicate the pastry.

Shortcrust has little resilience to outside forces, especially heat. Heat is the enemy of most pastries, so chilling is essential. Always chill your butter, and if the weather is warm, also chill your flour, eggs, water and equipment. For this reason, many pastry-makerswork their dough on a chilled marble slab. When butter is warm, it becomes incorporated into the gluten of the flour too readily, creating a less flaky result.

This applies to kneading, too. The more contact the dough has with the warmth of your hands, the more the butter will melt. A kneading action used frequently in pastry-making is called fraisage. This technique sees the the heel of the hand, its coolest part, used to push and smear the pastry gently along a work surface.

There's a key exception to the cold-butter rule. If a pastry case is very delicate, it may not hold its filling. If the filling is heavy or is to be added fresh to a pre-cooked tart case, a little extra strength is required. Beating room-temperature butter in a mixer to soften it before adding to the flour will produce a crisper, less flaky pastry.

Egg yolks and water also affect pastry. Egg yolks contain fat and act as an extra shortening agent but are used more to add colour and richness to the pastry.When you're adding water to pastry, be careful to add only enough to bring the mixture from a crumbly dough to one that can be kneaded and rolled easily.Too much water in the mix means the pastry will steam as it cooks, making for a flimsy result, so add small amounts gradually until you have achieved the right texture.

Finally, rest your pastry in the fridge after rolling out the dough. This will give the gluten time to relax, creating a more delicate pastry. The chilling also prevents shrinkage during cooking.

Good shortcrust is an invaluable asset to any cook's armory of skills. Soft, buttery, flaky pastry awaits… if you keep your cool.


At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Nov 2008

You might also like...

Tempered chocolate

recipes

Kebabs

Armando Percuoco: Linguine Napoletana

recipes

Trenette with pesto

Dhal with coriander and fried onion

recipes

Broad bean puree with chorizo

Pork and white beans

recipes

conversion tool

 
get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×