Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 15, 2009: Wholemeal shortcrust pastry

In a bid to use up some silverbeet we revisited the greenie pie. But the crust didn't particularly impress me last time so instead I gave Lucy's wholemeal shortcrust recipe a go. Though she painstakingly grates and rubs butter into flour, I took the lazy food processor route without ill effects. I did take more heed to Lucy's other instructions and assurances, and they're just what this impatient cook needs - the crust will tear and crack but that's just fine. The holes get patched up with spare dough and it bakes into a rustic, crispy and tasty shell regardless.

Though the recipe isn't vegan, the butter used is frozen and I wonder if the same quantity of frozen Nuttelex might also work. If not, there's always Clotilde's already-vegan olive oil tart crust, which I also plan to try.

Wholemeal shortcrust pastry
(based on a recipe at Nourish Me)

150g butter
300g wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
juice of 1 lemon

Wrap up the butter in greaseproof paper and freeze it for at least 30 minutes.

Put the flour and salt into a food processor and pulse them briefly. Cut the butter into cubes, add it to the food processor, and process the mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the lemon juice and process further, until the dough just starts coming together.

Turn the crumbly dough onto a clean bench. Squish it together and make two balls from it. Wrap the balls in greaseproof paper and refrigerate them for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Take the pastry from the fridge, lightly flour a clean surface, and roll out the pastry balls as thinly as you can (aim for 5mm). It will probably tear a bit along the way, but don't worry about it! Gently ease the largest pastry pieces into a pie dish, then use the smaller scraps to patch up the holes and cracks. Trim the edges and keep all the leftover pastry - you're not done with it yet.

Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill it with dried beans to gently weigh down the pastry base. Bake the pastry for 10 minutes, remove the beans and paper and bake the pastry for a further 10 minutes.

By now you might be disappointed to see more cracks and holes in the shell. Gently fill these with some of the leftover pastry. I found the best way was to dab on roughly the right sized scrap, then give it a minute to soften from the heat of the pastry, before using the back of a spoon to gently smooth the scrap out.

Allow the mended pastry shell to cool completely before filling it as you choose.


  1. Hi Cindy,

    I too have problems with cracking pastry- though I like the suggestion of 'stoppering' it with excess bits of pastry- Will try that next time!

    And the greenie pie looks very yummy!

  2. hi Cindy,

    I just made shortcrust pastry for dinner tonight..but instead of pie, I made tofu pumpkin pasties. It was really time consuming as I don't own a food processor :(
    Once, i made a quiche, and the egg batter leaked everywhere.. so i have love-hate relationship with shortcrust pastry ;)
    anyway, thanks for your tip on patching the pastry shell, i will try that next time..


  3. Hi Cindy,

    I can highly recommend Clotilde's olive oil pastry - it's really easy, totally vegan friendly and most importantly delicious. Plus there's no need for rubbing or food processing.

    This one also looks fabulous!

  4. Another recommendation for a non-chilling/rubbing/processing pastry is from David Lebovitz... for some reason it won't let me paste the link but if you google David Lebovitz french tart dough it will come up.

    When I made it it was a bit crumbly but i didn't entirely obey the recipe so it's my own fault. Still worked well for a chard quiche thingy. And you can just brown the butter in a saucepan, don't need to use the oven if you want :)

  5. Thanks, Cassiopeia160! It requires a gentle hand, but I was pleasantly surprised - no leaks!

    Hi Amanda! It can definitely be an effort. I'm not sure if this recipe would be suited to the extra folding and molding required for pasties, it's not a particularly flexible dough. :-)

    Thanks, eatitgood! I'll definitely give the olive oil one a go next time.

    Stru, I found the recipe and have never seen anything like it! It's on the to-do list. :-)