Don’t buy ready-made pastry dough! Unless you want puff pastry, which is rather labour intensive, you can make pastry dough easily and quickly using one finger (literally!). This picture guide will show you how to make dough for a short-crust type sweet pastry, to fit a 23 cm tart dish. For savoury dough, the ingredients are slightly different but the dough is mixed in exactly the same way.
Weight 150 g plain white flour
Weight 70g butter
Cut 5mm slices through the width of the butter (I did not do it in the above picture because I thought about it afterwards!) keeping the slices as one big block and grate the block across the other side so as to produce small grated pieces of butter. Tip: Dip butter into flour regularly to prevent it from sticking.
Quickly distribute the butter pieces and sugar into flour
Add water to the side of the dish (start with approx. 1/4 of a cup)
Draw several circles along the side of the bowl with your index finger to mix, adding small amounts of water at the time until you see no more flour
All ingredients are now combined.
Drop the dough onto a floured surface using a knife to push it. (The dough is a little too wet here but by using lots of flour, it will not stick to the rolling pin!)
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to the desired size
Fold the dough into two and into two again. My dough was so fragile that I had to quickly put it into a ball again and roll once more.
Pinch out any excess dough (if sticky put more flour on your fingers)…
…to fill any gaps and seal joints
I have made a small video clip summarising how to make pastry dough and mix with just one finger.