July 5, 2023

Batch cooking with short crust pastry to stretch meals and save

Today was bread making day and when use the oven, I don’t want to waste any energy and so I cook a few things at the same time using the same base ingredient.  Today it was short crust pastry. It cooks at the same temperature as my bread, is filling and is cheap to make. Pastry has a bad reputation for being unhealthy, but we use it as our carbohydrate in a meal, and only have it a couple of times a week.  It saves us so much money as pastry can stretch a meal to feed more people.  An example is if you serve a chicken pie rather than a chicken dinner for Sunday lunch to a large family it will cost a lot less as you will not need as much chicken, and you can pad it out with vegetables and a sauce.  No one will notice that it is a cheaper meal as it is still delicious and tasty.

I know a lot of people who buy pastry to save time but it is getting quite expensive now, and I prefer to make my own as I know which ingredients are in it (bought pastry often has palm oil in it), and it is super easy.  This is the recipe that I use as I was taught it at school.  There is a lot of controversy about the use of lard, but recent studies are showing that it is not as bad for you as it was once thought, and in fact it is better for you than a lot of other ‘modern’ fats, and can support a healthy heart.  It was used all during World War 2 and that is the healthiest generation, is what I think, and as long as the pastry is used in moderation and filled with healthy ingredients  I cannot see the harm.  Using lard makes the pastry crisper but is also cheaper than other fats.  One of my older relatives uses all lard, but I prefer the taste of some butter too. Butter is expensive but I make my own from reduced cream when I find it and freeze it in 50g blocks until I need it. We are still eating butter from discounted cream I bought on boxing day.  I make my pastry by hand but some people use an electric mixer.  I find it takes me more time to get out the machine and wash it up afterwards than it does to make it by hand, and also it uses precious energy, which is expensive now a days.

Pastry freezes well, either raw or cooked, and so it is a great ingredient for batch cooking and eating at a later time.  Any left over pastry can be frozen and then defrosted and used later too.  We cook pastry dishes in the air fryer if the oven is not on.


Short cut pastry recipe.


8oz plain flour

2oz lard

2oz butter or margarine.

Cold water.

Pinch of salt


  1. Put the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Cut the fat into small squares and add to the bowl.
  3. Using the tips of the fingers to keep the pastry cool, rub the fat into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Add the water a bit at a time until it forms a dough that is not sticky. Add more flour if it is sticky.
  5. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before using if it is a warm day.
  6. When using the pastry roll it into a rectangle and cut out the shape that you need.
  7. If you are making an item like a pie or pastry put some milk or egg wash on the top to make the pastry look a more golden colour (this is not essential)
  8. Cook at 200C for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the item you have made) or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.

5 Ideas for things to make with your pastry.

  1. Make a quiche using some eggs and milk and what ever you have in the fridge. Today I made some mini quiches with a few spring onions from the garden, a little bit of left over bacon, and some bits of cheese that had gone a bit hard.  A quiche is a great way of using up things that you have in the garden or the fridge.  In the past I have added things like peas, tuna, courgette, spinach, herbs and tomatoes.  The more filling that you add, the less eggs that you will need.
  2. Sausage rolls. Some times I have sausage meat in the freezer, especially after Christmas, but other times I will just take the skin off some sausages and use the meat.  My grandson loves these and they are great to pack up for Mr S when he is working, or to take on a picnic or if we are travelling.  Sometimes I fill them with mash potato mixed with cheese and onion if I do not have any meat.
  3. Pies and pasties. These are a great way to use up left overs eg bolognaise, curry, chicken supreme etc.  I just mix some potato or sweet potato with the leftovers so that it is not too runny in the pie or pasty.  I always make pasties when we are travelling and will make them with anything that we have in the fridge.  Our favourite is cooked sweet potato mixed with cooked onions, chorizo and tomato puree with smoked paprika.  We found this recipe by accident as it was all we had in.  Fruit pies and pasties are also good to make for dessert from foraged fruit or fruit in the garden.  At this time of year I make a lot of rhubarb pie.  In Autumn we will make a lot of bramble and apple.  Our menu changes with what is in season.
  4. Jam tarts and lemon curds are an old fashioned dessert but I often make these with the remnants of the pastry. Some times if I am making lemon curds, I will make some meringue to put on top to make them a bit posher for guests.
  5. Tarts. If I do not have enough pastry to put a top on the pie I will make a lattice with the bits of pastry, or cook the base and the fruit separately and add the fruit when it is cool. It is a tart then and can be served with pastry or custard piped on top.  We also make things like Manchester tart, chocolate and raspberry tart, caramel tarts or lemon meringue pie if we are entertaining family.  These all look like expensive desserts but actually do not cost much to make.

What are your favourite things to make with pastry?



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  1. CurlyTop July 5, 2023 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Making pastry with lard is how I was taught at school Toni. Fast forward to today and for some reason I’ve been making it all with butter. Dunno why that is, but a great reminder from you to revert back for savoury recipes.

    Talking of pastry, I have some slightly out of date currants and I’ve decided to make Eccles cakes, albeit I’m cheating this time and am using frozen pastry. If I get the mix of currants right, next time I’ll have a go from scratch.

    You’ve inspired and reminded me to make jam tarts which I keep saying I’ll do but haven’t got round to yet. Hubby loves those.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • ToniG July 6, 2023 at 5:27 am - Reply

      Yes I did the same for a while and used all butter or margarine. I think that we were kind of scared into it. Like most of these food scares it was all rubbish and probably a marketing ploy. Pastry tastes so much better and is cheaper with lard in. We made Eccles cakes last year with some left over puff pastry. They turned out well. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Jane July 6, 2023 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Just checking – should the combined fats be half the weight of the flour? I make pastry the way my mother did which is the same way as you. She was a fantastic baker. The fat (I use 50:50 lard and marg like Mum did). I also add a pinch of salt, because Mum did, but I’ve no idea if it makes any difference. I tend to make a batch and use some and freeze some. My favourite use is for quiches, which also freeze well. And I make jam tarts when I have homemade raspberry jam, once again because that’s what Mum did. They tend to disappear very quickly.

    • ToniG July 6, 2023 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jane for letting me know my mistake. I must have had a senior moment. I don’t actually add salt but I know some people do. It sounds like your Mum taught you well x

  3. Jane July 6, 2023 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Toni. I’ve caught myself doing that too when not using the standard 8:2:2 and then frantically having to add more flour to rescue it. Mum used to win prizes for her baking. All the small towns and villages round about had annual flower shows and they all had baking sections. Mum used to enter lots of categories and got prizes for most things. I still use her flour shaker and egg whisk and some of the Pyrex plates she used for apple pies. I think the flour shaker is older than me (late sixties). Not to mention my great grandmother’s table spoons.

    • ToniG July 7, 2023 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      Aww what lovely memories your baking items must bring each time you use them. Mr S used to win prizes at the local horticultural shows until he became a chef and then he wasn’t allowed to enter x

  4. Kathryn Naden July 6, 2023 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    I always did the 1/2 fat to flour recipe in school too & used the last bits of pastry cuttings up white a bit of grated cheese rolled into it to make cheese straws dad loved them. I like the sound of raspberry & Choc tart . Can you share the recipe sometime . Thank you for reminding me that good food is made with basic ingredients & love & creativity x

    • ToniG July 7, 2023 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Mr S makes the tarts and so I will ask him to look for the recipe. Good idea to put grated cheese in the pastry x

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