This is a recipe I’ve taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who I think is magic. It can be used for savory pies, Cornish pasties, old school vol-a-vents…..
Main tips are to have the butter super cold, don’t handle the pastry much and let it rest once you’ve made it.
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter cut into little cubes
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
A big pinch of salt
1 egg yolk (always always free range) with a splash of milk to glaze
What to do
- Put the little cubes/chunks of cold butter into the flour and salt and coat them all. This feels really nice on your hands.
- Add a little iced water and keep adding ’til all the flour is wet enough to make into a ball. It is probably about half a pint, but just add little scooshes at a time. Don’t make it too sticky.
- Flour your surface and shape the dough with your hands to a fat rectangle. Don’t handle it much as you want to keep the block cold.
- Roll it out with a rolling pin (glass bottle if you don’t have one) keeping the rectangular shape
- When the dough is about 3/4 inch fold the far third towards you and the near third back over that so you have a rectangle a third of the size and 3 times as thick.
- Turn the rectangle 90 degrees and then roll back out making another long rectangle
- When it is about 3/4 inch think again fold the far third towards you and the near third back over that like you did before
- Repeat about 5 or 6 times dusting with flour when you need to.
- If it becomes at all sticky (due to a warm room) pop it in the fridge for a while, dust with flour and try again.
- When you’ve finished put it in the fridge for at least an hour
Pie fillings to follow later, got to go chainsawing now with my honey.