Gluten-Free Shortcrust Pastry
The secret to great pastry is to keep everything cold and use only your fingers – not palms, when rubbing in fat. There is no need to worry about overdeveloping gluten here, but you don’t want to melt the fat into the flour and end up with a greasy lump. It might seem like a lot of ingredients, but the finished pastry is short, nutty and buttery. You can pre-make a pastry flour mix by multiplying the dry ingredient quantities below, whisking everything together in a large bowl or bucket, then weighing out bags of 295g. Each of these bags will make up one quantity of this pastry – enough for two tarts or four pasties. Alternatively, make a few batches of pastry and freeze.
80g rice flour
90g sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, chestnut flour or white teff flour
50g tapioca starch
70g ground almonds
2–3 pinches of sea salt
3 tsp ground linseed
1 tsp ground psyllium husk
100g salted butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg, beaten
3–4 tbsp cold water
Mix the flours, tapioca starch, ground almonds, salt, linseed and psyllium together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs – don’t go so far that it looks like sand. Stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
Sprinkle in some water and toss the crumbs with your fingers. Continue to add water in small amounts until the crumbs start to form clumps as you toss them. Avoid kneading the dough or squishing it together too much, just turn the crumbs with your fingers to encourage them to absorb the water. You will need to make the dough wetter than for a standard wheat dough, as the flours and linseed will take up slightly more water. The texture you’re after is a soft putty rather than a firm dough; it should be almost sticky.
Knead briefly and gently to bring together into a ball. Flatten between two sheets of baking parchment to about a 5cm thickness and chill for at least an hour – overnight is ideal, so that the flour can soak up the water and produce a much more pliable pastry.
If it seems at all crumbly when you come back to it after an hour, simply crumble it into lumps and add 2–3 tsp water before re-kneading. You’ll get the hang of how much water to add after you’ve made a couple of batches. Err on the side of too wet rather than too dry and your pastry will hold together better.
The pastry freezes well for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and use chilled.
Alternative - for sweet shortcrust pastry add 50g light muscovado sugar with the flours.