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Shortcrust pastry recipe

Shortcrust pastry recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Pies and tarts
  • Pastry
  • Shortcrust pastry

This recipe provides the wrapping or covering for many pies and tarts, both sweet and savoury. This recipe makes enough to line a deep 20-23cm (8-9 inch) flan tin or to cover a large pie dish for serving 4-6.

353 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 170 g (6 oz) plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 85 g (3 oz) cool butter, diced

MethodPrep:40min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp of cold water and mix in using a round-bladed knife. Add a drop more water only if the dough will not clump together. With your hands, gather together into a firm but pliable dough, handling as little as possible.
  3. Wrap the ball of dough in greaseproof paper or cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Some more ideas

For spiced shortcrust, add 1 tsp ground spice to the flour (such as cumin, curry powder, cinnamon or ginger). * For herbed shortcrust, add 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs or 1 tsp dried herbs to the flour.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(45)

Reviews in English (18)

How can I make a sweeter pastry? Do I just add sugar to it?-09 Dec 2010

Great basic pastry recipe. I use 10oz flour and 5oz butter and mix in the food processor adding water very gradually and it always turns out perfectly.-04 Sep 2011

worst recipe ever. its either too sticky or not sticky enough and breaks into pieces longer in fridge shorter in fridge, makes not difference, also a bit thin for 21cm tin.-22 Oct 2010

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The Perfect Traditional Cornish Pasty

The Cornish pasty is known and loved throughout Great Britain and has long been part of the country's culinary heritage. It is believed the pasty originated with Cornish tin miners who, unable to return to the surface at lunchtime, could still enjoy a hearty meal. With their hands often dirty from a morning's work, the pasty could be held easily by a "handle" at one end of the thick pastry crust, avoiding contaminating the pie. When laborers immigrated to the United States, they brought the pasty with them Michigan's Upper Penninsula is also well-known for pasties.

A pasty is a handheld meat pie. To be considered authentic, according to the Cornish Pasty Association, it must use diced beef, potato, rutabaga (swede in the U.K.), and onion. Beef skirt steak is the most common cut of meat used. They're also very particular about the pastry that encases the filling and the manner in which it's crimped on the side.

This recipe uses a shortcrust pastry made by hand or in a food processor, but if you are pressed for time, a ready-made pastry will do fine. Even if your pasties are not perfect, this is a fun recipe to make, and cooking Cornish pasty in the oven is straightforward. Perfect for a lunchbox, a traditional Cornish pasty also makes a great main course when served with fresh vegetables.

Tips And Frequently Asked Questions

Is shortcrust pastry easy to make?

Yes, it’s very quick and easy make. It can be made in about 10 minutes.

Is shortcrust pastry flaky?

This recipe for shortcrust pastry is flaky. It’s flaky because of the way it’s made. Rather than kneading the butter into the pastry, the butter is cut into tiny chunks and left lumpy in the pastry. When baked the butter melts and creates air pockets in the pastry making it flaky.

Can shortcrust pastry be made in advance?

Yes, it can be made up to two days in advance, but it’s best used on the day it’s made.

How long does shortcrust pastry last in the fridge?

Keep uncooked shortcrust pastry in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic. It can be stored this way for two to three days. However, the dough will turn a slight greyish colour, don’t worry about the colour, it can still use it.

Can shortcrust pastry be frozen?

Yes, it can be frozen. To freeze, shape the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic, and place in a freezer bag.

Alternatively, you can roll the dough, line a baking dish, place in the freezer unwrapped and allow to harden, then tightly wrap in plastic and return to the freezer. It can be stored this way for 2- 3 months.

How to defrost shortcrust pastry?

The dough will take about 24 hours to defrost in the fridge. Once thawed, allow the dough to soften slightly at room temperature for about 20 – 60 minutes, which will make it easier to roll.

The dough should be soft and still cold when you roll it. If it’s been left out for too long and is warm, place it back in the fridge to chill before using.

Can you defrost pastry in the microwave?

I don’t recommend defrosting shortcrust pastry in the microwave. Microwaves tend to defrost things unevenly, which can cause pockets of melted butter in the pastry which will ruin it.

Is shortcrust pastry sweet?

This recipe for shortcrust pastry in not sweet, but if you add sugar to this recipe you can make a sweet shortcrust pastry.

How to make shortcrust pastry sweet?

To make a sweet shortcrust pastry, add about 4 -5 tablespoons of caster sugar (fine sugar) or icing sugar (powdered sugar) to the flour before making the dough.

What is blind baking?

Blind baking is a process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without a filling. The pie crust is usually lined with baking paper or foil, then filled with pie beads or dried beans. The weight of the pie beads will help the pie crust hold its shape during baking.

Does shortcrust pastry need to be blind baked?

Yes, blind baking shortcrust pastry is a must. It will stop the bottom of the pie from becoming soggy and reduce shrinkage. Depending on the type of pie you are making, the pie crust can be partially or fully baked.

Partially cooked also known as prebaked pie crusts are generally blind baked for about 15 minutes using pie beads, and a further 5 minutes without pie beads. Use prebaked pie crusts for quiche, meat pies or any pie that needs baking.

Fully cooked pie crusts are generally blind baked for about 15 minutes with pie beads, and 10 – 15 minutes more without pie beads, or until the bottom turns golden brown.

Fully baked pie shells are used for dessert style pies that don’t require baking, like fresh fruit filled pies, pies that are set with gelatine or cream pies

How to store cooked shortcrust pastry?

Store cooked pie crusts in the fridge if they are to be used with 3-4 days. Otherwise wrap in plastic and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to make a Perfect Shortcrust Pastry

Just like our Irish Soda Bread, I again use a kitchen scale to weigh out all ingredients. Using the European method of weighing ingredients in grams and ml means that the measurements are much more precise and the result is so much better!

I&rsquom not saying American recipes with cups is bad or wrong. I mean, I&rsquove used this method for over 30 years! And it works alright. But I found I have far more success with baking recipes and a perfect flaky shortcrust pie recipe when I use a kitchen scale for measuring ingredients.

You shouldn&rsquot need any special tools to measure liquids. Most liquid measuring cups have ml measurements on one side of the measuring cup.

Many times with shortcrust pastry recipes, you can get away with using a food processor to mix the crust. But the downside to using a food processor is that it is very easy to overwork the dough, which leaves you with a dense and chewy crust.

The best way to make shortcrust pastry is with your hands. You will be able to feel when the pastry dough is just right. And you are better able to prevent overworking the dough.

Shortcrust pastry

Sift the flour and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Mix the egg yolk, water and lemon juice into the dry ingredients to make a stiff dough.

Knead well and cover with clingwrap. Chill for 1 hour.

Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3 mm on a lightly floured surface.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cook’s note: The butter and water should be ice-cold to prevent the butter from melting. Cold butter will result in a perfect, flaky texture. Shortcrust pastry is usually used for the bases of quiches or tarts as it doesn't puff up.

Ready to use your pastry? Browse our pie recipes here. Not the pastry you’re looking for? Discover more pastry recipes here.

Recipe by: Hannah Lewry View all recipes

Woolworths TASTE’s Food Editor is passionate about conjuring up fresh ideas for fast and easy dishes that taste as great as they look. Turn to her expertise for everything from time-saving mid-week food to lazy weekend meals. You’ll have a lot of fun in the kitchen while you’re about it.

The Science of Shortcrust Pastry (+ Basic Pie Crust Recipe)

There are a lot of different styles and types of pie crusts, some are sweet, some savoury. Some crunchy, some soft and tender. Your heritage will probably determine what you call a standard or basic pie crust. That makes the title of this blog post a little dangerous, but consider this the FoodCrumbles basic for a crunchy stand alone pie crust. It can be made with or without any filling. Which is another good reason to call it a basic crust, there’s plenty opportunity for variation, what about stewed beef or chicken and leek? The crust itself is savoury, but you can fill it with a sweet filling of course.

If this type of crust is done well, you will get a layered crunchy texture. By adding and mixing the ingredients in the right order these layers are formed. This type of dough is called short crust pastry dough and can also be used to bake cookies. Once you understand why you have to take certain steps, it will certainly improve your crust quality. Also, it will help you look out for the right type of ingredients!

What is short crust pastry?

Short crust pastry dough is a special type of dough, made with mostly fat and flour. In this type of dough the fat is rubbed into the flour. Only once the fat has been ‘rubbed’ in will you add extra moisture (water or milk for instance). The trick of this type of pastry is that the fat will form little pockets of fat within the dough. Then, when the dough is baked, this fat will melt away. As a result, the crust will have a layered texture of various dough layers on top of one another, separated by empty pockets where formerly the fat sat.

This structures gives a very crunchy but also sturdy pie crust. The flakiness will make it easy to bite into and break. So whenever looking to make short crust pastry you’ll be trying to make these layers of fat in your flour.

Keeping everything cold

In all recipes for short crust pastry you will find that you have to work cold. Use cold fats, cold liquids, don’t let the dough heat up. So why is that?

When you’re making short crust pastry you’re trying to make these pockets of fat in the dough. Common fats to use for this are butter, shortening or lard. You wouldn’t use oils. Oils are liquid and won’t form these little chunks or pockets of fat. Instead, the oil will flow everywhere. It can still be used for make a nice dough. However, it won’t get that flaky texture that you’re after for a short crust pastry dough. This does mean that when using butter or lard, the butter or lard shouldn’t melt. If they melt, it will have the same effect as using an oil.

This is why you have to work cool. Butter starts melting at room temperature, it becomes noticeably softer, which is a sign that part of the fats have melted. The same goes up for shortening and lard. So, during the whole pastry making process you’re trying to keep them solid and you do this by keeping everything cool.

Type of fat in short crust pastry

The three most commonly used fats in short crust pastry are (clarified) butter, lard and shortening. They will all give a slightly different texture and structure to the final dough, it will also impact flavour. Shortening has little to no flavour, whereas butter has quite a lot of flavour. Flavour is very personal though and depends on the type of pie you’re planning to make. The impact on structure has some more scientific ground.

Lard has the highest melting point of the three fats. At room temperature it will be more solid than butter. The next highest melting point is that of shortening and butter melts at the lowest temperature. That means that butter tends to melt more easily when mixing it in the flour. Therefore, shortening and lard tend to be easier to work with.

In general these three fats can be substituted 1:1 in a recipe. You will also often find that people use combinations of two of the fats. Everyone has their own preference. In Europe shortening is not a very common ingredient, so most doughs tend to be made with either butter or solid margarine. In the recipe below you will find that butter is used, but feel free to change these fat ratios up as one of your experiments.

Cranberry apple pie with crispy short crust pastry. The pastry is so strong it holds itself up even when the apples and cranberries have shrunk.

Role of liquid

Mixing only fat and flour won’t give a good crust. Instead, it will not properly cook and crumble apart very easily. Therefore, after the butter has been mixed in to the flour, some sort of liquid will be mixed in. This can be water or milk for instance. This water will actually bring the dough together and form it into a ball. Also, it will help the flour to cook, by absorbing part of the water in the dough.

In some cases eggs are added as well. This will enrich the dough further by adding some extra fats (of the egg yolk). Also, the egg proteins can help to form a sturdy structure. As long as you choose your fat:flour:liquid ratio properly though, they aren’t essential.


There is barely any gluten network formation in a short crust pastry. Once the (cold!) liquid is added it is mixed for as short as possible. Just enough for the dough to come together. Since gluten needs time and kneading to develop, this will not play an important role in short crust pastry.

Role of flour

If you live in Europe and want to try out American recipes or vice versa, you might have to watch out with short crust pastry. If you use European flour with an American recipe you might find that there is way too much fat in the recipe. Instead of creating a crumbly structure of fat and flour, you might have made a soft dough ball already, even before adding the liquid.

In the US a common ratio of flour:fat seems to be 3:2, whereas in Europe a good ratio tends to be 2:1. Keep this in mind when reading the recipes below! Also, use your eyes to determine whether the pastry is done. Once it’s become a good crumbly texture with larger and smaller chunks it’s good. If however, the dough still feels like plain flour or it has already come together in a ball, you’ve probably added too much or too little fat.

There are well known differences between these two types of flour, e.g. protein content, moisture content. However, these don’t necessarily seem to tell the whole story.

If your final crust doesn’t seem to want to cook or stays very very crumbly, there’s a chance you’ve added too much butter and it can’t hold itself together anymore.

Baking a short crust pastry

There are two ways to bake your short crust pastry:

  • Blind baking: you don’t yet put in the filling, instead, you weigh it down with something to help it keep its shape during baking. You then remove that filling and will only add the real filling in after.
  • Regular baking: bake the crust with the filling inside

When to blind bake your crust?

Blind baking is ideal if your filling might interact with the raw pie crust. Blind baking helps to cook the flour and will dry out the crust. That way it is less prone to soaking up moisture of a filling for instance.

In the case of our beef or chicken pies you would blind bake first since these have very moist fillings. The moisture might actually transfer into the crust, preventing it from baking properly.

Another reason to blind bake is of course if your filling doesn’t have to be cooked at all. Also, in some cases the filling should only be baked for a very short amount of time, resulting in a miss match of the baking times. Last but not least, if a filling does not come up very high in the pie, it is good the blind bake first. The blind baking will help secure the sides of the pie crust against the baking tin.An example of a blind baked crust, it will be filled with a super moist spinach filling.

Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve high above the bowl so the flour gets a good airing.

Sieve the flour and salt into a large mix.

Cut the cold butter into small pieces then sir it into the flour using a knife.

Rub the fat into the flour – dip your fingertips into the flour and gently rub the little pieces of butter between the tips of your thumbs and fingers so that they flatten and gradually mix into to flour. As you do this keep lifting your hands up above the rim of the bowl as this will let air get to the flour and keep the mixture cool as you rub in.

Keep rubbing in as lightly as you can until you cannot see any more bits of butter and the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Try to do the rubbing in as quickly as possible as the longer you are touching the butter the hotter it will become and your mixture may become greasy and sticky. If this happens just put the bowl in the fridge for 5 minutes and then continue.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cold water over the mixture and quickly mix it in with the knife. The pastry will start to come together in small lumps. If there are any dry bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl sprinkle over a tiny bit more water and mix again. It is very important not to add too much liquid as the pastry will be sticky and difficult to roll out, and when it is cooked the pastry will be tough and hard.

Use your hand to bring the pastry together in a ball, this is easiest if you use a wiping motion and wipe all the little bits up into one big ball. The dough should feel like plasticine - neither too hard and too soft.

Tip it out onto a floured work surface and knead it for a second or two just to bring into a smooth ball.

Wrap the pastry in a piece of cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take the pastry out of the fridge, unwrap it from the cling film and set it on the floured work surface.

Flour your hands and the rolling pin. Pat the dough down a little so the surface is flat.

Use the rolling pin to roll the pastry away from you in gentle strokes, pressing down with it gently as you go.

After every two or three strokes give the pastry a quarter turn – this will ensure you have a round of pastry rather than a long thin strip.

Keep rolling until the pastry is the required thickness – generally the smaller the tin you are lining the thinner the pastry should be.

Now you've mastered shortcrust pastry, try out our jam tart recipe.

This Easy Shortcrust Pastry Will Satisfy All Your Baking Needs

Our perfect shortcrust pastry is super easy to make, super flaky, and SO buttery without the use of shortening.

This recipe creates enough for one bottom pie crust, so if you want to create a lattice or a full-on top crust (like for our perfect apple pie), simply double this recipe.

Three things you need to keep in mind when making pie crust:

1. Your butter needs to be SUPER COLD.

This is not an overstatement&mdashsoftened butter or butter that's beginning to warm up will make the dough tough to work with. Don't remove the butter from the fridge until you're ready to start.

2. Break down the butter. but not too much.

Most recipes call for breaking down the butter into pea-sized clumps, which is true, but you'll want to keep some bigger pieces, too. These will ultimately help create a pastry with flaky layering.

3. Mix with your hands.

Yes, you can totally transfer the butter-flour mixture to a food processor, but it's not totally necessary. Working with your hands will ensure your control over the dough.

4. Apple cider vinegar is the secret.

Pie crust recipes often call for a tablespoon of vinegar or vodka as a secret ingredient for creating even flakier dough. We love apple cider vinegar&mdashit will prevent the rise of gluten, which can create a tougher pastry.

5. Yes, you need to add your ice water by the tablespoon.

After working the flour and butter, you'll need a little bit of water to help bring together the dough. Make sure it's ice cold otherwise, the butter will begin to melt and you'll miss out on flakiness :) Simply fill a bowl with ice and add water, then scoop it out as needed by the tablespoon, working the dough after each, until it comes together nicely.

Nut Pastry Recipe – How to Make Nut Shortcrust Pastry

Nut pastry is a variant on Shortcrust Pastry and just as easy to make. Use for savoury flans, pies, tarts and tartlets, pasties, quiches and turnovers etc. It is especially good with fillings of chicken, eggs and white fish. The nuts add valuable protein to vegetarian dishes as well. You can use most nuts for this pastry but my favourite has to be walnuts followed by pistachio nuts.

Mixed Nuts for Nut Shortcrust Pastry

Just like standard shortcrust pastry, this nut shortcrust pastry will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen. Why not make double and freeze half, saving you work later on? It can be made by hand or by using a food processor.

Ingredients for Nut Shortcrust Pastry Recipe:

  • 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 oz (56 g) butter or margarine
  • 2 oz (56 g) lard or hard vegetable fat
  • 1oz to 1½oz very finely chopped nuts.walnuts, pecans, peanuts, hazel or cashew nuts.
  • Water

Note: You can use most any nut – walnuts, pecans, peanuts, hazel, almond, pistachio or cashew nuts or mixed nuts if you prefer.

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