Here are our top tips for best results when making pastry
Gather all your ingredients together before starting to follow your recipe so you can check you have the correct quantity of everything you need.
For best results weigh and measure your ingredients accurately.
Resting your pastry before rolling it out helps it to relax and avoid shrinkage in the oven.
Hard fats such as butter or lard make the best pastry.
If you are using a non-dairy spread, the pastry may be more fragile and difficult to roll out – just press it into your dish instead
We recommend using a fork or a light touch on the kitchen processor to mix your pastry quickly as over-worked pastry can become hard and crumbly.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface, rolling away from yourself, turning it over and turning it round regularly.
If you don’t have ceramic baking beans for blind baking you can use any beans or rice.
Remember to make a cut in the side of choux pastry when it comes out of the oven so that steam can escape.
Don’t despair if you have problems with your pastry making, there is probably a solution and a way to help rescue your lovely pastry. If you find your pastry is tough or crumbly to roll out, the pastry at the bottom of your bake is soggy, the butter has run out during baking, the pastry has shrunk or collapsed or your puff or flaky pastry didn’t rise much, we can help you find a pastry solution to rescue your bake.
To re-heat pasta, cover it with boiling water, stand for 2-3 minutes then drain and serve.
The pastry is tough and hard to roll out or too crumbly to roll out.
Plain flours are best for pastry. The gluten strands in bread flour are stronger than plain flour and can make pastry tough to roll out. If you used the wrong flour try resting the dough for half an hour to relax the gluten then follow our rescue tips below.
Reducing the butter in pastry in favour of water can make the pastry tough and hard to roll out.
Over-working pastry dough with your hands or in a kitchen processor can make pastry tough. On future occasions avoid excessive handling by chopping the butter into small cubes and using a fork to mix the butter and flour together until they resemble bread crumbs before adding water.
Ingredient weighing errors can result in tough or crumbly pastry. Weigh the pastry and check the weight matches the total weight of ingredients in the recipe.
How to rescue tough or crumbly pastry
Return the pie or tart to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, if possible, standing it on a wire rack so that the oven heat can get to the pastry base. If needed, lightly cover the top of the pie or tart with a piece of parchment to prevent it burning.
The butter has run out of my pastry during cooking and it seems oily.
If the butter in the pastry, the dough itself or the room are too warm, the heat of the oven will melt the butter very quickly and it will run out of the pastry. For future bakes, chill the pastry before cooking and pre-heat the oven 20 minutes before baking.
The folds of laminated puff and flaky pastry hold together thin layers of butter and dough. If there are insufficient or uneven layers of butter and dough, the pastry will not cook evenly and butter will leak out in the oven before the pastry is set. For future bakes, ensure that the butter lamination is even, don’t skimp on the folds and chill before baking in a pre-heated oven 20 minutes before baking.
How to rescue pastry when the butter has run out or it is oily
As the pastry comes out of the oven carefully transfer it to a wire rack and dispose of the excess butter.
The pastry has shrunk or collapsed from the edges of the dish during cooking.
Plain flours are best for pastry because their gluten strands are relaxed while the stronger gluten in bread flours can cause pastry to shrink back.
Warm pastry cooked in an oven that was not pre-heated can collapse as its water evaporates before the pastry cooks and hardens. For future bakes, chill the pastry and pre-heat the oven 20 minutes before baking.
Reducing the butter in pastry in favour of water will make the pastry hard and liable to shrinkage as the water evaporates in the oven.
How to rescue shrunken or collapsed pastry
Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley or dust a little icing sugar over the delicious cooked pie or tart to make the low rise less obvious.
There are blisters, bubbles or small cracks in the top of the cooked pastry.
If the butter particles in the pastry are of uneven size and unevenly distributed in the pastry dough, they can cook at different speeds causing bubbles or blisters in the pastry.
As pastry heats in the oven the fat expands, bubbles, and blisters or small splits can appear in the pastry. For future bakes, chill the pastry for 20 minutes before baking to ensure it is relaxed.
How to rescue cooked pastry with blisters or bubbles
Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs or dust icing sugar over a pastry surface you find unappealing and enjoy your lovely bake.