My nan likes to tell stories. Stories about being sent to Wales during the war. About my grandad who, at Christmas, was invited into every house on his milk rounds to have a festive tipple and would eventually stagger home 5 hours later than usual. About swimming in the sea in the summer in her knickers and bra with her sister, our Auntie Rose. And, about the day her mum taught her to make pastry. She was newly married, just 20, and her pastry was rock-hard. In a fit of frustration and anger, she tearfully threw it across the room, exclaiming, ‘I can’t do it!!’. Her mother, a no-nonsense woman, replied ‘Well you won’t be able to if you chuck it across the room!’. In my nan’s words, ‘I did learn how to do it eventually’.
As I’ve thought about this blog this week and the recipes I wanted to include, I’ve realised so many of them will come from my loved ones. So, with this particular story in mind, and knowing I wanted to make a Goats Cheese Tart, I decided to take the brave step, shun the oh so convenient ready made pastry in the supermarket, and make my very first home-made shortcrust pastry. I visited my nan for recipes, was told it was the easiest thing to make (did I mention she also has a very selective memory?!) and that I was being silly not attempting it, and left armed with her cookbooks from the 1950s.
Here are my results. It’s a lot less convenient than buying from the supermarket but, I must admit, there’s a real pleasure in making the entire dish from scratch – and it really wasn’t that hard after all!
Happy cooking : ) x
Note: I have converted the measurements from imperial to metric and have included the imperial measurements in brackets.
200g (8oz) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
100g (4oz) butter, chilled
2tbsp water, chilled
A chilled tart 25cm pan
1. Sift the flour and salt.
2. Rub in the butter until the flour and butter mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the chilled water and mix to form a stiff but not too dry dough.
4. Wrap dough in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease tart pan and remove dough from the fridge. Roll the dough on a floured surface, starting from the centre of the dough and pushing out, until dough is thin. Place dough in tart pan.
6. Prick the pastry, line it with baking paper and fill with ceramic baking beans (rice works just as well). Bake the case for 10-15 minutes, or until pastry looks dry. Remove ceramic baking beans and leave to cool.