In my world there are very few things that trump a freshly baked tart with crispy and flaky shortcrust pastry that melts on your tongue. Many people believe that it is hard to make shortcrust pastry and opt for the store-bought version, but making it yourself is actually quite straightforward, and the homemade version that doesn’t contain additives and is made with real butter tastes so much better than anything you can buy.
The key to success is to handle the pastry as little as possible and to cool it down before you bake it. It also helps using a pie dish with a loose bottom which makes it easier to transfer the pie to your serving plate. I personally love the pie dishes from Circulon as they are practically indestructible – trust me, I have tried! You can buy them here.
For most of the year I fill my pies with seasonal fruit, and in Denmark we are pretty lucky in this respect – in spring rhubarb is abundant, summer arrives with lots of sweet and ripe berries, and in autumn we have more plums, pears and apples than we can possibly eat. Wintertime calls for comfort and coziness and here a velvety chocolate filling is the perfect antidote to the long and dark Scandinavian winters.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
For two pie dishes 20cm in diameter
250g wheat flour
165g cold butter
1 medium egg
3 tablespoons of icing sugar
A pinch of salt
The seeds of half a vanilla pod
Cut the butter into cubes and mix with flour, icing sugar and salt. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until it reaches a consistency like breadcrumbs. This is best done with an electric mixer, but can also be done by hand. Just remember to work as fast as possible so the butter doesn’t begin to melt.
Carefully whisk the egg and add it to the butter and flour mix. Mix together fast, kneading the pastry as little as possible. It should just stick together. If you do it with a machine then let it run until the pastry is just about homogeneous and the press the pastry into a ball with your hands.
Cover the shortcrust pastry in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour. When the pastry has rested, roll it out with a bit more flour. Butter a 20 cm in diameter pie dish with a loose bottom making sure there is butter in every nook and cranny, and press the pastry into the dish. Be sure that there aren’t any air trapped between the bottom of the dish and the pastry.
Prick the pastry with a fork to allow air bubble to escape. Cover the dish in cling film and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking it.
If the filling for the pie needs to be baked then pre-bake the pastry for 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius or until it is a light golden colour, then add the filling and bake until the pie is done.
If the filling doesn’t require baking then bake the pastry for approximately 25 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius or until it is golden and crispy. Let it cool off completely before adding the filling.
This blog post contains an affiliate link which means that I get a small amount of money if you buy a pie dish – it is not something that makes be rich in any way, but it helps to cover some of the expenses connected with running Sofie’s Pantry.