England’s counterpart to Julia Child and likewise a beloved culinary celebrity is Dame Mary Rosa Alleyne Hunnings, DBE—known the world over, simply, as Mary Berry. Food writer, chef, baker, and television presenter—American TV viewers know her for The Great British Bake Off—like Julia Child she, too, studied at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. And like Julia, her story too is amazing. And so is her homemade pie crust recipe.
- 12 oz. plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 6 oz. hard block margarine, plus extra for greasing
- about 6 tbsp cold water
- 3-oz. sugar, plus 1 tbsp to glaze
- 1-1⁄2 Tbsp cornflour
- 1- Tbsp milk, to glaze
- Place flour in a bowl. Cut in hard block margarine into cubes; add to the flour.
- Using your fingertips, rub the fat and flour together until you have incorporated all the flour.
- Continue rubbing in, occasionally shaking the bowl to bring any large pieces of fat to the surface.
- When all the fat has been rubbed in fully, the mixture will look like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add about 6 tablespoons cold water, a spoonful at a time. Mix with a knife between each spoonful.
- Enough water has been added when the mixture just begins to hold together in a soft mass.
- Gently gather the pastry together against the side of the bowl and turn it out onto the work surface.
- Gently shape the pastry and pat it into a rough ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove half the pastry from the cling film. Re-wrap the pastry that you’re not using immediately in cling film so it doesn’t dry out.
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Flatten the pastry. Working from the center out, roll out the pastry into a circle, about 35cm (14in) across. Between each rolling, turn the pastry a quarter turn and dust the rolling pin with flour if sticky. Don’t stretch the pastry or turn it over.
- With floured hands, fold the pastry in half, then in half again, to resemble a fan shape. Place it in the tin with the point in the center. This will help minimize stretching. Do not grease the tin before putting in the pastry; it is unnecessary and can cause the pastry to stick.
- Unfold the pastry and ease it into the tin without stretching or pulling. Do not worry about the pastry hanging over the edge, because this will be trimmed later. You can keep the pastry, wrapped in cling film, for up to 24 hours in the fridge.