Not enough of us make pies these days, yet there are few things more satisfying and crowd-pleasing than bringing a dish of golden-crusted goodness to the table. And it's not hard, just a matter of making a fine filling and good pastry.
For pastry that cracks and crumbles beneath your knife, and melts in the mouth in a burst of buttery loveliness, you need the real deal, made with good flour, excellent butter and little else. A food processor or mixer with a pastry attachment gives consistent results, but trusting your own fingertips gives ultimate satisfaction.
400g Plain flour
200g Cold butter, diced
1 tbsp Fine salt
In a mixing bowl add the cold diced butter to the flour. Add the salt and then slowly pour in the water. Gently mix together without breaking up the butter and then form into a rough dough (it will feel quite dry).
Wrap in parchment and place in the fridge to chill for one hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and using plenty of flour, roll it into a 1cm thick rectangle.
Fold either end to the centre, then fold in half again. You should end up with something that looks a little like a book. Repeat the process again. This is called laminating.
Place the pastry dough back in the fridge and leave for another hour.
Repeat the laminating with two more folds. Roll, fold, roll, fold. You should have folded the pastry four times in total.
Place the pastry back in the fridge for another hour, and then it's ready to use.