Today I wanted to share with you my 5 easy steps to making sweet shortcrust pastry. Once you have mastered these steps this can be a go-to pastry recipe for any sweet tart or pie-no need to look any further!
Read on to find out how to master sweet shortcrust pastry, and get my delicious recipe for these gorgeous Raspberry Tartlets!
The French refer to sweet shortcrust pastry as Pâte Sucrée. It is a beautifully sweet, crumbly and buttery pastry. Because of the higher butter sugar content, it has a beautiful golden colour when baked.
1. The first step is making sweet pastry is to prepare your work area. This is so important, because it means you can be thoughtful about the process and not feel rushed. I measure all my ingredients and place them in separate bowls ready to go. Along with this, I make sure both my work area and equipment are clean and tidy. I used to be a crazy messy baker, but once I started to prepare my area like this, it changed the way I baked, I'm more relaxed and in turn this produces a better outcome.
2. Ensure butter and eggs are at room temperature. This is quite opposite to other pastry recipes which call for chilled ingredients, but instead of "cutting" the butter into the flour (which would create a flakey pastry), the process we will be following here is the "creaming" method, which results in that beautiful crumbly texture.
3. Cream butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until pale, then add eggs slowly, one at a time. At this point there may be a separation between the eggs and butter. As you would have already measured out the flour (as per step 1), all you need to do here is add 1-2 tablespoons of the flour to the egg and butter mixture and this will bring it together.
4. After incorporating the butter, sugar and eggs, remove bowl from mixer, and add sifted flour and baking powder. Return bowl to mixer and mix on low until ingredients are just incorporated.
5. Remove bowl from mixer and turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Gather the dough together with your hands into a ball. Flatten and shape to form a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. Remove dough from refrigerator about 45 minutes before rolling.
Keep reading below to get the full method and recipe for my Raspberry Tartlets!
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte Sucrée) + Raspberry Tartlet Recipe
For the pastry:
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g icing sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
500g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the almond cream (frangipane filling)
170g unsalted butter, room temperature
170g caster sugar
170g almond meal
2 eggs, room temperature
20g custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 punnet fresh raspberries
Handful of flaked almonds
1. To make the pastry, place butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You may need to add a tablespoon of flour (from the pre-measured flour) to bring the mixture together. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat well until combined.
2. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and add to butter mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl, and continue to beat until ingredients are just incorporated.
3. Turn mixture onto a light floured surface and gather together. Flatten and shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight to rest.
4. Meanwhile, to make the almond cream, place butter, sugar and almond meal into a clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add egg, and continue to beat well. Add custard powder and vanilla extract and beat until ingredients are all combined. Scoop mixture into a container and refrigerate for up to 1 week if not using straight away*.
5. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Remove pastry from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to rolling. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll dough out until about 3mm thick. Place tartlet pan on top of pastry and cut around pan, leaving enough excess dough for the sides. Shape pastry into each tartlet pan by lightly pressing and being careful to not stretch dough. Refrigerate tartlets for about 5 minutes.
6 Remove from refrigerator and trim excess dough. Place 2-3 spoonfuls of almond cream in the base of each tartlet shell (fill about 2/3 of the shell). Top with raspberries and flaked almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, before removing tartlets from pan. Dust with icing sugar and serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a dollop of cream.
*If refrigerating ahead of time, remove almond cream from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to use. Place into bowl of stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then mixture should be ready to use.