Louise Lennox’s foolproof guide to pastry will teach you how to whip up filo, shortcrust, hot water and puff pastry like a pro in no time.

If you’ve ever watched the Great British Bake Off, then you know pastry can be challenging, as even the most accomplished chefs can struggle with it. The key to a good pastry is to have a no-fail recipe in your back pocket, ready to go whenever you need it. Here, Louise Lennox gives us her foolproof pastry recipes, plus a few dishes to use them in.

Puff Pastry

“I always thought puff pastry took hours to make. While it doesn’t actually take much manual labour to create, you do need to be around the kitchen for a few hours so it can be rolled and rested a few times. I find making puff pastry very therapeutic. I agree it is much easier to buy it but homemade butter puff pastry does taste nicer”

This puff pastry recipe is ideal for these chicken, chorizo and cranberry rolls, which make great canapés.

Shortcrust Pastry

“This was the very first pastry I ever learnt how to make when I was a child. It is very easy, versatile and can be used for many dessert and savoury dishes”

Louise uses this pastry for her stilton, pecan and pomegranate canapés.

Hot Water Pastry

“This breaks most rules of pastry making. It is really simple to make, and great if you need to make pastry fast as you don’t need to rest it. It needs to be used straight away, otherwise it’s very difficult to roll out”

A favourite in classic British pies, this pastry is ideal for samosas.

Filo Pastry

“This pastry is more pulled and stretched then rolled out. It is tricky to work with, as the consistency is different from the shop-bought version. I haven’t made filo pastry since I was in Cathal Brugha Street College. We had to make it for an exam one day and our lecturer went around the class with his signature on a piece of paper and put the pastry over it. You passed the test if he could read his name through the pastry”

Use this pastry for these delicious smoked mackerel and chive pâté baskets.

Louise Lennox is a highly accomplished pastry chef. Over the years, she has appeared on various radio and television programmes including The Restaurant, alongside Gary O’Hanlon and Stephen McAllister. During FOOD&WINE Ireland’s print run, Louise was a regular contributor, where her delicious baking and desserts often took centre stage.

Photography: Harry Weir and Brian Clarke