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Shortcrust pastry

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on 4 March 2008

Shortcrust pastry is used to make pies, tarts, quiches, turnovers and crusts. It's a versatile, simple and essential kitchen staple. Here's our basic recipe and tips.

See all our pastry recipes

Recipe
Ingredients:
- 250g flour
- 125g butter
- 1 egg yolk (optional)
- 50ml water
- pinch of salt

- Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Make a well in the centre, chop the butter into pieces and add to the well. Work in with your fingertips and rub in with your hands until you get crumbs. Add the egg yolk, work in with your fingertips until mixed in and make into a ball.

- Stretch the dough 3 or 4 times by crushing it onto your work surface and spreading it out with the palm of your hand to make sure the butter and flour are properly mixed.

- Make into a ball, cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Take the dough out 15 minutes before you're ready to roll it.

- Depending on the recipe, cooking time and temperature will obviously vary, but generally cook shortcrust pastry at 180°C (GM 6) for 35-40 minutes.

Tips and hints

Flour

Use white flour for the basic recipe. Wholemeal flour makes a darker pastry with a stronger taste, and requires more water during preparation.

Egg yolk

Optional. It adds crunch and colour to your pastry.

Butter

Should be soft (at room temperature) but not melted.

Water

Can be supplemented with other liquids such as alcohol for flavouring.

Flavouring

Flavour your pastry however you wish by adding herbs, spices, cocoa, rum, bitter almond extract, etc.

Baking the base only

Prick your pastry with a fork and place in your dish with the pricked side upwards. Place dried beans or a cooking rack over your pastry to stop it rising and forming bubbles, then bake.

Getting your pastry into your dish

Once you've rolled out your pastry, you don't want to tear it getting it into your baking dish or tin! To avoid catastrophe, roll your pastry around your rolling pin and simply roll out onto your dish or tin. Press it down lightly around the rim so that the pastry is shaped like the tin. Keep any leftovers to use!

Not soaking your pastry with filling

Cook the pastry base alone (with dry beans) for 10 minutes, then brush with egg white or sprinkle with fine semolina, breadcrumbs, gingerbread crumbs or sugar.

Oil pastry

Replace the butter and egg yolk with 150ml oil, and use hot water. Make the pastry quickly and roll into a ball. Oil pastry will be more elastic and tougher to roll, but it's healthier than butter pastry.

See all our pastry recipes

by Sarah Horrocks

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