What’s the Secret Ingredient of Shortcrust Pastry
Drumroll, please! On Bake Off Italia, Tommaso Sfoglia spilled the beans on the secret ingredient for shortcrust pastry. Surprise—it’s not butter as commonly believed. Although we will never tire of pointing out to pastry chefs and dessert makers that they don’t tell us that they replace butter with margarine or vegetable oil for cost-effective reasons, true shortcrust perfection demands butter. Sfoglia emphasized that, yes, it may be pricier, but when it comes to shortcrust pastry, there’s no compromise—it has to be butter, no questions asked.
However, Tommaso Foglia pointed out that butter is not essential for producing an ideal shortcrust pastry. All credit goes to the flour.
How to create the perfect shortcrust pastry?
Attention, aspiring MasterChef contestants: if you aim to join the Sky program, mastering the art of shortcrust pastry is a must. As Bake Off Italia teaches us, it is the foundation for numerous desserts, cakes, pastries, and biscuits. Don’t be shocked if Iginio Massari expresses dismay if you enter MasterChef without the know-how to craft this essential pastry.
But let’s go back to pastry chef Tommaso Sfoglia, the new judge on Bake Off Italia. He clarified that the ingredients for crafting shortcrust pastry remain the same, regardless of the recipe.
Butter – that’s the key, pastry chefs! And we’re talking about the real deal, not other cheaper substitutes. Of course, exceptions exist for those with allergies or intolerances to eggs or lactose, but when it comes to achieving authentic flavor and texture, it’s all about that genuine butter goodness.
According to Sfoglia, the game-changer is the flour, which should be made exclusively from soft and weak wheat and boast a protein percentage below 9 grams. Regarding flour strength, the W abbreviation should be under 130. This low-gluten flour ensures the dough maintains a balanced and elastic consistency without being too hard and without crumbling.
Sfoglia further revealed another secret to success. After kneading it, you need to let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour, even better if left for two hours or overnight. Once in the pan, allowing it an additional two hours of rest is ideal.