Enriched with egg yolk, this creates a lovely buttery, crumbly shortcrust. With only a tablespoon of icing sugar it is not super-sweet, meaning it compliments sweet fillings well without becoming overpowering. A touch of almond flour provides some extra texture in this recipe, but if you don’t want to include it, just leave it out and substitute it with an extra 25g of soft cake and pastry flour instead. Makes enough to line a 24cm fluted tart tin. The uncooked weight of pastry this recipe makes is 360g.
You can make this pastry by hand or using a food processor. Start by cutting your butter into small cubes of roughly 1cm using two knives to avoid touching it with your hands, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
Sift your flour and salt from a height into the bowl, to get the air into the ingredients. The almond flour is too coarse to sift so just mix this in. Gently rub the butter into the flours using your fingertips. A light touch here is important; lift up the flour as you do this and let it fall back into the bowl to create a lighter texture for the mix. You should end up with a breadcrumb-type consistency – don’t overwork it. If using a food processor, pulse the flour and butter together until you reach this consistency. Sift in your icing sugar and combine.
Mix your egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of cold water, and sprinkle it evenly over the mixture. Use a blunt kitchen knife or palette knife to incorporate it as quickly as possible and bring the dough together. If you need more water add it gradually and sparingly – you only need enough water to bind the dough. If your ingredients look dry then add some more water, but stop before it becomes wet and tacky; you want to end up with a soft dough. If using a food processor, it can be a little harder to tell as you can’t touch the dough, so stop the motor from time to time to check the consistency. If you push your ball of dough together and it cracks, the gluten needs a little more working.
Shape your dough into a disc and wrap it in cling film. Rest it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can now continue as directed in your recipe, or go on to blind bake your pastry case.
Baking instructions for a tart case
Preheat your oven to 220°C / gas 7. On a lightly floured work surface use a rolling pin to ridge the dough and start to push it outwards before you roll it. Rotate at each quarter turn, and when it is big enough, roll it out into a circle shape, 2-3mm thick. Lay the pastry over the tin using your rolling pin to help lift it, and use your fingers to press it snugly into the grooves. Trim off any excess pastry. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork to prevent bubbles forming. Cover the base and sides of the case with baking parchment, and weight it down with baking beans. Make sure the beans are pushed right into the edges of the tin.
Blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes, until pale golden with no wet patches of dough. Remove the parchment and beans, and prick the base again with a fork. Bake for a further 10 minutes until just golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.
Picture copyright of Jonathan Gregson