Dessert — Eva’s Proportional Pastry for Pie Crust

When Eva Menuhin was aboard ADAGIO with us, sailing from New Caledonia to New Zealand in 2012, we really cooked up a storm. Her skills and precision were a joy to behold, as they confirm my belief in careful weights, measures and proportions. She has kindly contributed this recipe.


  • 3 parts flour
  • 2 parts butter
  • 1 part water (or less if you are using American butter)*
  • Salt

For a 1 crust pie, I use:

  • 300g. flour
  • 200g. cold butter
  • 100g. cold water (or less if you are using American butter)*
  • 1 scant tsp salt

For a 2 crust pie (top & bottom crust) I use 400g. flour and modify the other ingredients proportionally.


  1. Put Flour into a mixing bowl, stir in salt, grate in butter using the coarsest grater.

  2. Rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

  3. Sprinkle in water and mix with a fork until the mixture comes together. Form into a loose ball with your fingertips, flatten slightly, put into the fridge for about 15 minutes.

  4. Roll out on floured surface (I use floured non-stick parchment) to a thickness of about 3mm/1/8th inch. If making a 2-crust pie, use 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust and 1/3 for the top crust, rolling them out separately.

  5. Line a 20cm/8-9 inch pie dish with the dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out top crust and put in fridge too.

  6. Remove from fridge and add your filling. Cover with the chilled top crust if you’re using one.

  7. Bake as per your pie recipe.

This crust works beautifully for tarts and quiche too, but must be pre-baked as follows:

  1. Put rolled out dough into a tart/quiche tin. Cover with cling film and refrigerate as above.

  2. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking weights/lentils/beans.

  3. Bake at 200 C. for 15 minutes, then remove paper and weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the base is pale golden and remove from the oven.

  4. It might puff up. Prick with a fork if it does.

  5. Fill and bake as per your tart/quiche recipe.

To use scraps:

  1. Take leftover scraps of pastry and lay them next to each other, slightly overlapping, on a board thickly covered with grated parmesan. Grate more parmesan on the scraps. Fold into thirds, pressing cheese into dough gently. Roll out again and cover with more parmesan. Fold as before. Roll out again. No need to be neat. Gather all stray parmesan and sprinkle on top, pressing into the dough gently. That stuff is expensive!

  2. Cut into 1 ½ cm / ½ inch strips, twist 2-3 times and lay the twisted strips on a very lightly greased baking sheet. Dust with a bit of paprika if you like. Bake at 180C until completely pale golden brown. This will depend on your oven, and should take about 15–20 minutes. If they’re not completely baked they’ll get soggy; if they’re overdone, they don’t taste as nice. Stay in the kitchen and watch.

  3. They’re best warm, but will keep overnight in a plastic bag in a dry place, though the chances of them lasting that long are minimal if there’s even the hint of a drink or a man around. Drink & man…better hide a few for yourself!


  • American butter contains more water than butter from England and New Zealand.


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