AT A GLANCE
The number one rule to making a good fine and flaky shortcrust pastry is to chill. And we're not just talking about keeping your cool. Chill your ingredients, too.
|01||Process flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form.|
|02||Add egg yolk and enough chilled water (about 3-4 tsp) and process until mixture just forms a dough (2-4 seconds).|
|03||Turn pastry onto a floured surface and lightly knead with the heel of your hand until the pastry comes together.|
|04||Form pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (2-3 hours).|
|05||Roll pastry, using a rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick.|
|06||Brush excess flour from pastry with a pastry brush, then use pastry cutters to cut lining for individual cases or roll pastry backwards over rolling pin to lift pastry and line large tart case. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.|
|07||Preheat oven to 200C. Blind bake pastry until golden (15-25 minutes), then cool on a wire rack.|
Note Makes forty 4cm tartlets, six 12cm tartlets or a 25cm tart.
Tartlet fillings for canapés
1 Fill tartlet shells with a soft goat's curd or soft goat's cheese and top with a little spoonful of good-quality tapenade.
2 Char an eggplant over a gas flame or barbecue until blackened and soft. Cut across the base and sit in a colander for extra juices to drain. Halve lengthways, then scoop out flesh with a spoon and transfer to a food processor. Process with a finely chopped garlic clove, a tablespoon of tahini, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil until smooth. Season to taste and serve in tartlets, topped with a chopped parsley, red onion and caper salad.
3 For a touch of Welsh and Scottish flavour, add slices of smoked salmon or smoked ocean trout to tartlet shells along with some laverbread (available from Simon Johnson).