Autumn is coming to Ashdown Forest. The bracken is turning from green to golden brown and the holly berries are tinged with red. It’s time to think of comfort food, and what could be more welcome on an autumn day than a pie?
To make a good pie you need a light, crisp, buttery pastry. I use my mother’s pastry recipe for all my pies, both sweet and savoury. She was a wonderful cook and the kitchen was always a place where we worked together and had lots of fun. She was from Northern Ireland where the tradition of home cooking is still strong, and she continued to to use the recipes her mother and grandmother had used.
My mother always used a mixture of butter and lard to make her pastry and I believe these ingredients make the lightest and crispest pastry. At Duddleswell I use a vegetable shortening instead of lard as it allows our pies and tarts to be vegetarian friendly, but I do use lard when cooking for my family.
The choice is yours!
Rich Shortcrust PastryCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
Enough for a 10 inch / 25cm pieservings
8oz / 225gms plain flour
4oz / 112gms cold butter
2oz / 55gms lard or solid vegetable fat
2-3 tablespoons cold water
- Cut your fats into small pieces and mix with the flour. The butter should be cold but not straight out of the fridge. You can use lard/vegetable fat straight from the fridge.
- Rub the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Mix to a dough with the cold water using a flat bladed knife until clumps form, then bring together using your hands.
- I have a old bone handled flat bladed knife that belonged to my mother and I always use this when making pastry.
- Rest in the fridge or a cool place for 30 minutes.
- Use as needed in your recipe.
Use your pastry to make an Apple Pie
Next time I will share with you my mother’s recipe for apple pie. I use this recipe for the tea rooms and for the apple pies I make for my family!