Easy Shortcrust Pastry

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Our Easy Shortcrust Pastry (called pâte brisée in French) can be utilized for so many different dishes, from sweet to savory! Did we mention it’s ultra-easy? It is! In less than 10 minutes your pastry dough will be chilling in the fridge, plus you make it in the food processor!!

Anyone can make a great tender flaky pastry crust, and our recipe makes it possible! 

Understanding Shortcrust Pastry vs. Pie Crust

Shortcrust Pastry:

  • Shortcrust pastry is a type of pastry that is made with a higher ratio of fat to flour, resulting in a tender and crumbly texture.
  • It typically contains flour, butter or another fat (such as lard or shortening), water, and sometimes a small amount of sugar and salt.
  • Shortcrust pastry is commonly used for sweet and savory dishes, such as tarts, quiches, and pies.
  • It is often blind-baked before adding the filling to ensure a crisp and golden crust.

Pie Crust:

  • Pie crust refers to the pastry used to encase a pie or tart filling.
  • While shortcrust pastry can be used as pie crust, pie crust can also refer to other types of pastry, such as flaky pastry or puff pastry, depending on the desired texture and flavor.
  • Pie crusts can be made with various ratios of fat to flour, resulting in different textures and flavors. For example, flaky pie crusts contain layers of fat and flour that create a flaky texture when baked.
  • Pie crusts are typically rolled out and fitted into a pie or tart pan before being filled and baked.

In summary, shortcrust pastry is a specific type of pastry made with a higher fat content, while pie crust is a broader term that refers to the pastry used to make pies and tarts, which can include various types of pastry with different textures and flavors.

Tips for Achieving Perfect Shortcrust Pastry Dough

We use a food processor to keep handling to a minimum.

  • Use Cold Ingredients: Ensure that your butter or fat is cold when incorporating it into the flour to achieve a flaky texture.
  • Handle with Care: Avoid overworking the dough, as this can result in a tough crust. Mix until just combined for a tender pastry.
  • Add Water Gradually: Add water to the dough gradually, as you may not need to use all the water called for in the recipe. Stop adding water once the dough comes together and holds its shape when pressed.
  • Chill Before Rolling: Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This allows the gluten to relax and prevents the dough from shrinking during baking.
  • Roll Evenly: Roll the dough out evenly to the desired thickness, using a lightly floured surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking.
  • Blind Bake for Crispness: If making a tart or pie, consider blind baking the pastry before adding the filling. This helps ensure a crisp, golden crust.
  • Patch Any Tears: If the dough tears while rolling or transferring it to the pan, simply patch it together with extra dough. Press gently to seal any seams.
  • Ventilate for Steam: If making a pie with a top crust, remember to cut vents to allow steam to escape during baking and prevent the filling from becoming too watery.
Ingredients for shortcrust pastry.

Crafting Shortcrust Pastry: A Step-by-Step Guide

Make sure that your butter is cold, cold, cold! I never handle the butter, I weigh it, cut, and freeze it overnight or for at least 30 minutes. 

Flour for shortcrust pastry.
Cold butter for shortcrust pastry.

Achieving the Perfect Texture

For a fine crumb texture, gently pulse the pastry in your food processor until just combined. Avoid overworking the dough; aim for a consistency similar to breadcrumbs, as shown below.

Shortcrust pastry being blitzed in the food processor.

Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing gently. Sometimes the dough will come together with 1 Tablespoon of water and other times it takes all 3 Tablespoons.

Here’s the result after 1 Tablespoon, not there yet.

Easy Shortcrust Pastry blitzed in food processor.

And after the 2nd Tablespoon of water it’s exactly what we want, no need for the 3rd this time around. Once the dough takes hold and forms a ball, stop.

Shortcrust pastry being blitzed in the food processor.

Less is More: Once the dough has come together in the food processor, turn it out onto a floured surface and lightly knead it with your fingertips. Forming it into a disk, wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can also make this the day before and let it chill in the fridge.

Loosely wrap Dough in Plastic Wrap
Thickness of Dough
After Chilling, Knead Dough with the base of your palms
After kneading roll dough
Roll to desired thinness
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How to Make Shortcrust Pastry

Easy Shortcrust Pastry

Our Easy Shortcrust Pastry (called pâte brisée in French) can be utilized for so many different dishes, from sweet to savory! Did we mention it's ultra-easy? It is, in less than 10 minutes your pastry dough will be chilling in the fridge.  
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 292 grams

Ingredients

  • 1 ample cup (145 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher sea salt finely ground
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick (120 grams) butter FROZEN unsalted
  • 2-4 Tablespoons water ICE COLD

Instructions

Pastry

  • Put flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add frozen butter and quickly blitz the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.
    Easy Shortcrust Pastry blitzed in food processor.
  • Add ice water a tablespoon at a time and blitz briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough.
    Shortcrust pastry being blitzed in the food processor.
  • Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.
    Easy Shortcrust Pastry in plastic wrap for chilling showing depth dough.

Rolling

  • Once the dough has chilled at least 30 minutes, remove it from the fridge and let rest for 5 minutes.
    Easy Shortcrust Pastry ready for chilling.
  • Lightly flour dough and counter, roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.
    Easy Shortcrust Pastry with rolling pin.

Notes

  • Prep time is approximate.
  • Shortcrust Pastry can be made a day ahead, just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and leave i chilling in the fridge. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Shortcrust Pastry is super versatile and so easy to make, you can use it for so many recipes…

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Not just a savory crust we also make plenty of sweet desserts with it too. It’s so flaky and tender, yet strong and holds up to many fillings!

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    1. This looks great! We’re going to be making Pumpkin Pasties (huge Harry Potter nerd here :D) for Thanksgiving, and this looks like a great recipe for the pastry!

      1. This is the perfect crust for your Pumpkin Pasties, Tamera! Be sure to share how they turn out and brush them with an egg wash before baking too for a golden color 🙂

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