Foolproof cooking tip pastry chef’s always use for a ‘flaky’ crust every time

Pastry can be the base of both savoury and sweet dishes but the recipe is almost always the same.

Butter, flour and water make up the three primary ingredients in all cases, no matter what type of pastry is being made.

It’s the ratios and cooking method that really matter when it comes to perfecting either a puffed, shortcrust or flaky crust.

While everyone has their own unique hacks when crafting pastry from scratch, expert chefs have claimed that handling the butter correctly is the key to success.

According to the experts at Marta Stewart’s Test Kitchen, every home cook should start with cold ingredients for the best results.

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Chilled butter and ice-cold water are essential to keep the dough flaky while being cooked but the first step is how the fat is kneaded into the flour.

An expert at Martha Stewart said: “Pastry cooks know the secret to a tender, flaky pie crust is using a light hand when mixing and incorporating the butter into the flour just enough.

“You can use the large holes of a grater to grate butter for your dough, making the steps of mixing that much more efficient.” 

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Freezing the butter beforehand is an even better way to ensure it is perfectly chilled, and it’s easy to do.

Simply measure the amount of butter required for your dough, and freeze it until very firm before making the mixture.

Then, grate it into the flour and toss lightly with the delicate touch of the fingertips.

While some people may substitute butter with non-dairy products like vegetable oil spreads, the cooking experts noted that this may affect the texture.

They claimed that butter “undoubtedly has the best flavour” and creates “the flakiest layers in the crust”, but vegetable products are easier to work with.

Pastry crusts made with plant-based replacements will hold their shape better when baked, especially if the recipe calls for a decorative edge.

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