If you have never made pastry, or it's been ages since you've rubbed butter and flour together, give this recipe a shot and you'll have a delicious pastry for a tart. Nothing compares to handmade shortcrust pastry, one bite and you will be a convert!
This is the basic pastry that is perfect for all savoury tarts. It can be used for sweet tarts, too, if the filling is very sweet.
300 g (10 1/2 oz/2 cups) plain flour
Pinch of salt
150 g (5 1/2 oz) butter, diced
3–4 tbsp cold water
Sift flour with salt; rub in the butter to produce a breadcrumb texture. Add enough water to bring pastry together and knead briefly. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Roll pastry onto a lightly floured board to a 3 mm (1/8 in) thickness and line a greased 23 cm (9 in) flan tin. Work fingers around the side of the tin making sure pastry is pushed down into corners. Trim any excess off the top using a small knife.
Prick pastry base with fork and rest for 30 minutes. Line pastry with greaseproof paper, then baking beans, pastry weights or rice and bake blind for 15 minutes in preheated oven.
Remove paper and beans / weights / rice, and bake for a further 5 minutes to crisp the pastry.