sweet shortcrust pastry

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Sweet shortcrust pastry is a must in the repertoire of any baker. Beautiful and rich, sweet shortcrust pastry is perfect for pies and tarts – plus you can freeze it too!

sweet shortcrust pastry

Raising the popularity of pastry

If you’ve never made shortcrust pastry before, fear not! Shows like GBBO have been brilliant for showing different bakes, from cakes and biscuits to some incredible showstoppers over the years. But so often we also hear the criticism of “soggy bottoms” (thanks Mary Berry!) or talk of “tough pastry”. Contestants keep being told their pastry has been overworked, underworked, is too wet, too dry, too thick, not thick enough… the list goes on!

So I wanted to share with you some of my top tips when I make sweet shortcrust pastry to help you out. Honestly, once you’ve made it a couple of times, you’ll find it a doddle and wonder what all the fuss was about! 😉

Mini cherry bakewell tarts

So what can I make with sweet shortcrust pastry?

The list is endless really! A variety of pies, whether fruit-filled or seasonal like my mini mince pies, tarts like my jam tarts or even the classic cherry bakewell! I adore working with pastry, so expect plenty more bakes involving this pastry from me!

Mini jam tarts

Top tips for making sweet shortcrust pastry

Making sweet shortcrust pastry takes just a few basic ingredients you likely already have at home: flour, butter, icing sugar, and egg. Whilst I’ve seen and made pastry without the egg, I actually really like the tender, richer results from using egg as part of making pastry, so this is now my go-to recipe.

There are a few ways of making this, but the golden rules are:

  • Keep your ingredients cold (butter and water, in this recipe) as much as possible. I find this easiest to do without using the rubbing in method, but using a food processor or pastry blender instead, but this can come down to personal preference.
  • Handle your dough less rather than more. You don’t want to knead your dough as you would for making bread, as this will lead to the gluten tightening up and making a tough pastry. Just as much as you need to bring it together and make sure it’s well mixed is good!
sweet shortcrust pastry

A few extra tips

  • Chilling your dough is really important. This helps to relax the gluten in your pastry, preventing it becoming tough and chewy when baked.
  • Chill again once rolled and shaped in your tin. This helps to reduce any shrinkage of the pastry when it bakes, as well as relaxing the dough again after being handled for shaping into the tin.
  • Blind baking. Blind baking is when you prick your pastry in the tin, then cover it with parchment or foil and weight it down using baking beans or rice. This is a useful step to prevent your pastry from rising in the middle, reducing the space available for your filling. However, if you are using a more firm filling, such as mincemeat, I find blind baking is not necessary at all.
  • Baking the pastry. If your filling is very wet before it’s baked (such as if you make a custard or lemon tart), or even if you’re not baking your filling (such as if you put a chocolate ganache in as the filling), then you need to bake your pastry first. This is so that you don’t end up with the infamous (thanks again Mary Berry!) soggy bottom, as the dough will just remain wet from your filling. In this case, you will need to blind bake your pastry first, then bake it uncovered until it’s golden and biscuit-y. Beautiful crisp pastry and not a soggy bottom in sight!
shortcrust pastry

Recommended equipment and ingredients I used *

Food processorPastry cutter/blender
Rolling pinMixing bowl
* If you purchase any of the products through one of the links above, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you so much for your support!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by movers and bakers Course: Baking Basics
Prep time

10

minutes
Baking time

15

minutes
Total time

25

minutes

Basic sweet shortcrust pastry, complete with tips. Perfect every time!

Ingredients

  • 250 g (1½ cups+1 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour

  • 60 g (¼ cup + 3 tbsp) icing (powdered) sugar

  • 125 g (½ cup + 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

  • 2 large eggs, yolks only

  • 2-4 tbsp ice (ie very very cold!) water

Directions

  • Tip your flour and sugar into your food processor or mixing bowl and give it a quick pulse/mix to combine. Add in the butter and pulse/blend in until your mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If using your hands, run your hands under cold water before you start, to keep the temperature of your butter as cool as possible. Remember to use only your fingertips and not the palms of your hands too.
  • Once your butter has been incorporated, tip in the egg yolks and mix until just combined. Mix in the ice water 1tbsp at a time until your dough comes together in clumps. When it’s started clumping, it’s time to bring it together!
  • Tip your mixture out onto your clean work surface (no need to dust with extra flour), and push it together with your hands until it comes together in a smooth dough. Split in two and shape into two thick discs. Wrap tightly in clingfilm, then pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before using. You can freeze it at this stage, just wrap it tightly in three layers: clingfilm, foil and clingfilm again, then pop in your freezer. Defrost overnight in the fridge then continue from this step.
  • Before you prepare your filling, roll your pastry out and use it to line your chosen tin. Pop it back in the fridge to chill again whilst preparing the filling. If your filling is more firm (like mincemeat, frangipane or jam), you don’t need to blind bake but can fill your pastry and bake everything together.
  • If your filling is a liquid before baking (like with lemon tart, for example), you will need to blind bake your pastry. Prick your pastry all over the base, then line with some scrunched up and opened out (to soften it) parchment or foil and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake this way for 5-10 minutes at 160C/320F, then remove the parchment/foil and bake the pastry shell again for another 10-20 minutes until biscuity. The amount of time baking will depend on the size of your tin, and whether it’s one large shell or smaller mini ones. After this bake, you pop in your chosen filling and bake again to set your filling. Enjoy!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*