Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

I think, along with fairy cakes, pastry was one of the first things I ever made on my own from scratch. I remember making apple tarts as teenager and being so proud of myself when they turned out nice.
I adore sweet shortcrust pastry. It is definitely my favourite pastry. I'm all about the crust. I could just eat the crust with cream and I would be in heaven.

I have heard so many people say they would be too scared to make their own pastry and my answer usually is 

Pastry is honestly one of simplest things to make. It more than likely will shrink and crack but once you get the hang of it, there's nothing to it. The only thing that can really go wrong is you burn it and we've all been there!

Recipe for Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Makes 400g


200g plain flour, sifted
1 tbsp icing sugar
100g chilled butter
1/2-1 med egg


Place the flour, icing sugar and butter in a mixer and mix until resembled bread crumbs.

Add a little egg at a time until your mixture is just moist enough that it comes together.

With your hands, flatten out your dough into disc shapes (this just helps it chill faster) and wrap in cling film.

Leave in fridge for at least 30 mins or if pushed for time 10-15 in the freezer. Pastry done!

If you want to blind bake your tart,head on over to my Rhubarb Tart recipe for instructions.

Here are a few tips I've learnt along the way.......

  • Work quickly with your pastry. You want a crumbly moist pastry, over working it can make it quite chewy.
  • All your ingredients must be cold, if your pastry gets quite warm you will end up with a dense pastry.
  • CHILL your pastry! I never used to do this back in the day but now it is a MUST! Even after you have put it in your tin,you must re-chill it. Your pastry must go into the oven cold. It will help to avoid shrinking and cracking. 

Don't be scared,go make some. I've done all of the above wrong in the past but you will learn as you go and it usually turns out delicious, even if it does shrink and crack!

Below are some recipes I've made using Shortcrust Pastry.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

Rhubarb Tart

Strawberry Frangipane Tart


Shirley x

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Red Onion And Sage Focaccia

Bread.......my love!

I made this focaccia to go with a pasta dish we were having for dinner, I do believe I'm Italian at heart.

I made it ever so slightly different. Instead of flattening it out like my Garlic and Herb Focaccia.I just left it in its lovely loaf form, quite large, quite chunky. It still had its soft airy inside and slightly crunchy chewy outside. Perfect for mopping up sauce!

Recipe for Red Onion and Sage Focaccia


Makes 1 Loaf



  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
  • 210ml luke warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 350g strong plain white flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, cut very thinly
  • 1 tbsp sage


  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until it looks frothy and bubbly. This is the yeast being activated.
  2. Stir in salt and add flour, stirring to form a soft dough.
  3. Knead dough until soft and elastic. This usually takes about 5 minutes in a mixer.
  4. Place dough in large bowl coated with olive oil, cover with cling film and let rise for 45 mins  in a warm place.
  5. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with oil. Sprinkle over red onion, the onion will shrink so don't be frightened to over sprinkle. Scatter over Sage. Cover and again allow to rise for 25 mins in a warm area.
  6. Preheat oven to 180°C. Use your fingertips to create small indentation on focaccia. Bake for 14 mins or until lightly browned. We ate this warm, it was only ok cooled in my opinion but my folks couldnt get enough of it.

I wish I had gotten a better photo but because we ate it warm out of the oven, impatience got the better of me!

                                                         Hope everyones having a great week.

                                                                               Shirley x