A good shortcrust pastry is something you want to have mastered and at the ready when inspiration hits, this one's fabulous, easy, tasty and perfectly textured. Kathy & Steph used this for the Starry Christmas tart featured in this year's catalogue (teamed with shortbread stars for the perfect finish). As well as with the Christmas mince pie visual extravaganza (courtesy of our resident pastry guru Steph).
1 ½ cups plain flour
a scant ½ cup icing sugar
a pinch of salt
75g cold butter, diced
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
Put the flour, icing sugar and salt into a food processor and process once or twice to sift the flour. Add the diced butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolk and water and process until the mixture just starts to form clumps. Tip out onto the bench and bring together. Shape into a disc, wrap well and put in the fridge to firm up, about 30 minutes. Once chilled the pastry is now ready to use.