Michel Roux’s Shortcrust (Flan) Pastry

Posted 18 December 2010 by

Shortcrust pastry is really quick and easy to make. Often, it’s simply made of plain flour, butter or lard, water and a pinch of salt. The shortcrust recipe I’m using is for flan pastry, otherwise known as pâte à foncer, from Michel Roux’s Pastry. It has the addition of an egg, and happily it’s still very quick and easy to make. Pâte à foncer is one of Michel’s basic shortcrust pastry recipes in the book, the other being pâte brisée. The flan pastry, he says, is crispier and less delicate.

Shortcrust flan pastry lining a pie dish.

My shortcrust flan pastry lining a pie dish.

Ingredients (makes 480 g):

  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp  caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 40 ml cold water

Sieve the flour and mix it with the salt and sugar. Place the four into a work surface, and make a well in the middle. Place the butter and egg into the well.

Cubed butter and an egg with flour, ready to make shortcrust pastry dough.

It helps to slightly soften the butter first.

Mix the butter and egg together with your fingers, and gradually incorporate the flour into the mixture to form a sticky dough.

Fingers rubbing together butter, an egg and four to make shortcrust flan pastry.

Fingers rubbing flour into butter and egg to make shortcrust flan pastry dough.

Yes, your hands should be so cold they’re about to turn blue for this to work!

The dough should start looking like breadcrumbs/grains. Add the water and keep mixing/rubbing to form a firm pastry dough.

Flan pastry dough coming together.

Ball of firm shortcrust flan pastry dough.Roll the pastry dough into a ball, wrap in cling-film and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. I rolled my shortcrust pastry out thin and used it for the bottom of a chicken and cheese pie.

Rolling pin rolling out shortcrust flan pastry dough.

Closeup of thin shortcrust flan pastry overhanging the edge of a pie dish.

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6 Responses to Michel Roux’s Shortcrust (Flan) Pastry

  1. Dave says:

    Thanks for this, I’ve been trying to track this recipe down to make his empanadas from the same book. A friend made some the other day and they were truly awesome, highly recommended!

  2. Brian Arnold says:

    I have been watching MASTER CHEF and Michel used a flat surface method for his SHORT PASTRY,and as an ex chef tried it out and i was amazed how perfect my attempt turned out.for my lemon flan.

  3. Nick says:

    Thanks for the recipe. But watching Michel make shortcrust in the 80s, he used milk and not water. Wondering why it says water here?

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Nick, thanks for your comment. In his book, Pastry, the recipe definitely uses water, not milk. One possibility is that you were watching him make the pâte brisée, which is also shortcrust, rather than pâte à foncer/flan pastry. The pâte brisée has slightly more butter and a tbsp of milk instead of the water. It’s “more delicate, crumbly and lighter than flan pastry”. Hope that helps!

  4. Lin says:

    Are you suppose to blind bake pate a foncer?

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Lin, I think it depends on the recipe you’re using. I would blind bake as usual if that’s what the recipe calls for.

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