“Rubbing in” is the first step in making many pastries and crumble toppings. For pastries in particular the fats need to be cool if not cold, so that they do not melt as they are mixed. There are specialised hand tools available for rubbing in, but I have always used my fingers. They are cheaper and work very well!
All you have to do is mix together the dry ingredients with a spoon. You may have just flour, but often you are likely to have sugar and / or baking powder too.
Once these ingredients are well mixed, chop the fats, often butter or lard, into smallish cubes and put into the bowl. If you are using margarine it is normally too soft to cube. Just spoon it into the bowl.
Rubbing in is simply mixing the fats into the dry ingredients using your fingertips. Rub your fingertips together, gently, in the mixture, so that you end up with something resembling breadcrumbs. Just don’t press to hard and within a couple of minutes you should see it coming together nicely.
If you are making pastry, please click here to see the next step, cutting in.
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge