Most things are improved by being clothed in pastry, and this Clementine shortcrust pastry adds an extra layer of flavour. This recipe can be varied by using other citrus fruits such as lime or lemon, but Clementine is a lovely festive twist. I use it to make my mincemeat crumble pies.
Citrus fruit works really well because the acid in the juice makes the pastry even crumblier while the zest is loaded with natural oils which flavours the pastry without upsetting any of the proper ratios of the recipe.
Pastry is something that is spoken about with a reverence that makes people afraid of making it. Really the things that make a good pastry are things that are convenient for the cook. Everything need to be cold so that means you don’t need to leave the butter out to soften. The pastry needs to be handled as little as possible, making it a quick job. The pastry also needs to be rested giving you time to prepare your filling. It’s the type of recipe that just needs a little practise, and, above all things, not to be feared!
150 grams of flour (plain or self raising if you have nothing else in the cupboard)
75 grams unsalted butter (Cold from the fridge)
Pinch of salt
25 grams of caster sugar (optional)
Zest and juice of a Clementine
- Mix the flour, salt and sugar (if using) in a bowl.
- Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a knife. You’re aiming to keep the ingredients as cold as you can and handle to pastry ingredients as little as possible. This gives the pastry a better texture.
- Use you finger to rub the lumps of butter between the tips of your thumb and forefinger.
- Keep dipping your fingers back into the flour and lift them out about the bowl to keep the mix light.
- Keep going until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
- (You can also pop it all in the food processor and whizz it up for a few minutes).
- Mix in the zest and add juice of half a Clementine. Doing this with a knife is easiest. Try clumping it together with your hands. If it pulls together you don’t need any more zest, but add more if it isn’t coming into a ball easily.
Wrap it in cling film and leave the pastry to the chill in the fridge for half an hour.
- I roll out my pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper. I start from the centre and roll outwards in one direction at a time. I make sure to keep flipping the pastry over and peeling off the greaseproof paper to make sure it doesn’t stick on either side. Sprinkle a little flour on the pastry if it is sticking.
- Dip any cutters you use in flour and ensure that the cut out pastry is about an inch bigger than the tin you are using.
- Use a little ball of pastry to gently push the pastry into the tin as your finger is more likely to poke a hole in the pastry. Try not to stretch the pastry as it will just shrink in the oven, however, you can afford to patch it a bit if it tears.
- Fill with whatever fruit or filling you are using and bake at 180 degrees celcius or as your recipe advises.