When making my mince pies recently for my online shop Lily's Loaf, it got me thinking about perfecting shortcrust pastry using dairy-free fat. Here are some tips for achieving the perfect short tender crumb with dairy-free spread.
Which dairy-free spread?
As butter adds flavour and shortness in traditional recipes, using a 50:50 combination of dairy-free fats will be the perfect substitute to achieve a short, tender crumb. Using a combination of Trex's vegetable fat would give you the shortness and Pure's baking spread, would give you flavour (from Pure).
According to Leith's guide to making perfect shortcrust pastry, the most important element of the technique is rubbing the fat into the flour, which coats the flour with fat and creates a fine crumb. The fat protects the grains of flour and hinders the development of gluten, which would make the pastry tough.
How much water?
Using as little water as possible to bind the dough also helps to achieve a tender crumb.
Leaving to rest in the fridge
Once you have your dough, leaving it to rest in the fridge will relax it and firm up the spread