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We are friends who love making simple food look beautiful. We hope our recipes will inspire you to get into the kitchen this season. Aoife McElwain works in front of the camera writing the recipes and styling the food, while Mark Duggan works behind the camera to make sure it all looks as delicious as possible. We work with editors such as Killian Broderick and music supervisors like Nialler9 to make sure that our finished videos look and sound as smart as possible. We work with brands like Glenisk and Folláin to help them create delicious video content for their online platforms. When we're not making videos, we write a weekly column called Speedy Suppers on Thursdays in The Irish Independent. Aoife writes the recipes and styles the food while Mark takes the photographs.  

diy pastry

Pastry is actually marvellously simple. We always thought there was some secret magic to making pastry. Our revelation came when we discovered that 1) beautiful, perfect pastry does take magic or skill to make perfect but 2) you can also make totally edible pastry without being an expert.

The key to approaching an art like pastry is being willing to practice. We’ve been making terrible pastry for a few years now but each pie crust is getting closer to the perfection our grannies made look so easy. Practice makes perfect. We hope this video will simplify the process so that you can practice it until you find your own perfect pastry buzz.

What you need for a forkful of pastry

225g plain flour

Pinch of salt

100g of very cold butter

A bit of cold water

You can make pastry by hand or in a food processor. Some argue that pastry is at its best when made by hand. Others argue that those with warm hands would do well to use a food processor to get their dough. A major component to flaky pastry is not letting the butter melt in the first step. That’s why we recommend having your butter very, very cold to start. Our advice is to try both processes and see which suits you best.

If you’re doing it by hand, sieve the flour into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt. Chop your very cold butter into cubes and add it to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This will take around 5 minutes.

If you’re using a food processor, sieve the flour into the processor bowl and add a pinch of salt. Chop your very cold butter into cubes and add it to the food processor. Pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This will take about 20 seconds.

Add two tablespoons of water to your breadcrumby dough. Mix it by hand/pulse in the food processor. You’ll probably need another two tablespoons of water but add it slowly (by hand or by processor) until you have a soft, firm dough.

Lay out the dough onto a floured surface and roll it into a round. Wrap in clingfilm and put into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Get your tart dish ready by greasing it with butter.

When your pastry is ready, roll it out so that it is about 1cm or less thick. Lay it into the tart dish and let it chill in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas Mark 5.

Put a large piece of baking paper over your tart and top with baking beans (I use cooked chickpeas but you’d be better off with heavier beans) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. This is to pre-cook the pastry so it’s lovely and biscuity.

Meanwhile, prepare your filling. I love an eggy cream base tart. All you need is about 200ml of double cream, two eggs and a bit of cheese to pour around your favourite roast vegetables. 

Arrange your roasted vegetables in the biscuity tart base and pour over the eggy cream. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until everything is golden and bubbling. 

The beauty of pastry is, once you get the hang of it, it’s one of your most versatile friends in the kitchen. We would love if you used this recipe as a base to create your own beautiful pastry-based dinners. Enjoy.


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