250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g good quality unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
1 large egg, beaten
A splash of milk
Makes approx 500g
This is an all purpose sweet pastry mix for making pies and it is remarkably easy to make.
Start by sieving the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using your (clean) hands gently work the butter in to the flour and icing sugar mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Next add the milk and egg. Work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over work it at this point as it will become chewy not crumbly. I’ve also heard that cold hands make better pastry, so if you have warm hands, rinse them under the cold tap as much as you can to cool them before you start to work the dough together.
Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean work surface and place your ball of dough on this, then flatten the ball until it’s about two and a half centimetres thick. Sprinkle some flour over it and then wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge to rest for at least thirty minutes.
At this point you can also place the wrapped pastry in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.
Next grab a 9 inch cake tin, preferably one with a removable bottom, and grease it lightly using some kitchen roll and vegetable oil.
Once the dough has rested, sprinkle some more flour on to a large work surface and grab a rolling pin. You want to roll the dough out turning it occasionally until it’s about half a centimetre thick.
The best way to get the pastry from your work surface to the cake tin is to roll it gently around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the oiled tin. Carefully ease the pastry into the tin making sure to get it into the corners. Trim off any excess, by running a knife around the top of the tin and then using a fork, prick the base all over. Place the tin and pastry into your freezer for about 30 minutes, while you heat your oven to 180C.
Take some greaseproof paper and scrunch it up, then use this to line the visible surface of your pastry case, making sure to press it into the sides as well. Next, fill it with either ceramic baking beads or plain rice and bake blind for about 10 minutes.
Remove the baking beads (or rice) and the greaseproof paper and bake the pastry case for another 10 minutes until it firms up and gets a bit biscuit like.