Suet pastry is most often used for steamed puddings. The raising agent in the flour helps to give the pastry a lighter texture. Unlike most other pastries, suet pastry should not be rested before use because the raising agent starts working as soon as the liquid is added.
1. Divide the pastry into 2 unequal pieces, two-thirds and one-third. One a floured surface, pat out the larger piece into a circle about 2cm thick and 15cm in diameter. Flour one half of the pastry circle (to stop it sticking together) and fold the pastry over to form a half-moon shape.
2. Place the pastry fold side towards you and ridge it lightly with the side of your hand so that the straight side becomes curved and the whole rounded again. You will need to use your hands to encourage open sides away from you.
3. Open the pastry out like a purse, roughly the shape of a pudding basin. Use it to line the basin, easing the pastry where necessary to fit, and trimming off the top to leave a 1cm ridge that sits proud of the top.
350g self-raising flour
Large pinch of salt
175g shredded beef or vegetarian suet
100-150ml very cold water
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the suet and rub it into the flour a little with your fingertips, to help break it down.
- Add 100ml very cold water and, using a cutlery knife, mix everything in together. Once you have large flakes, feel them to see if you need more liquid, drawing them to the side and adding more water to the dry flour as necessary.
- Use your hand to bring the pastry together, feeling the large flakes to ensure there is enough water in the pastry to bring it together comfortably. It should be soft, but not sticky or tacky. Work it in your hands until smooth.