I am not a natural pastry maker unlike my grandmother Norma who made wonderful light pastry by hand. I’m also lazy and take any shortcut going, so at the risk of sounding like an advert I always make pastry in the Magimix (same with scones). I accept that the results are not as good but I keep my sanity.
The key with pastry is make it as if you are in a terrible hurry. Too much thought (or touch) makes it heavier. I either start the process in the Magimix and finish it by hand, or do the whole thing by machine – see below.
Lazy Shortcrust Pastry
1 part butter to 2 parts flour eg 250g butter, 500g plain flour
Use cold butter if possible (or even frozen). Cut the butter into very rough chunks, don’t worry too much about this and the chunks don’t have to be the same size. Put butter in Magimix with flour.
Use pulse button – this stops the mixture getting too warm until the butter is amalgamated and at ‘breadcrumb’ stage.
Get a glass of very cold water and add 2 tbsp water, pulse. Take the lid off, feel the mixture. Add another spoon of water, pulse, feel again. The reason for doing this is that the amount of water you need varies, depending on how warm the mixture is, how dry the air is, and other indefinables. You are aiming to use as little water as possible but still get the mixture to come together. It’s easy to add too much water and make the pastry sticky. So go on adding a little water, a spoon at a time, and pulsing. You should just barely reach the point where it is sticking into a lump.
Spread out a piece of cling film, empty the pastry out onto it. With the Magimix it’s easiest to turn the bowl upside, blade and all. Then pick out the blade, and squash the pastry into a neat ball gently with your hands, wrap in cling film, put in the fridge before using.
Yes Mary Berry would be appalled.