Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
This homemade sweet shortcrust pastry is ideal for all your fruit tarts or small pies. I love to use this recipe for jam tarts or to make Christmas mince pies.
Sweet shortcrust pastry doesn’t include leavening agents and when baked is crisp rather than puffed and layered.
This is an easy recipe and is best made by hand rather than in a food processor. We want to handle the dough as little as possible and keep it cold throughout the making of it. This way the dough won’t shrink so much or become tough after baking. Another important factor is resting the dough. It’s best to rest it after it’s made and then again once you have rolled it out and filled your baking form.
The French call this pastry pâte sucrée, as it is mostly used for fruit tarts, just like in my apricot streusel tart, sour cherry ricotta tart or my cherry Bakewell tart recipe. The dough is actually also great for making biscuits, similar to sable biscuits or shortbread.
If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment below and rate it – it’s really helpful to me and the other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #thegourmetlarder on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with! 🙂
- EASE: quick to make and is best made ahead of time.
- FREE FROM: this recipe is nut-free, check out my gluten-free option in the substitutions section.
- GREAT FOR: sweet tarts, small pies (Christmas mince pies) or sable biscuits.
- TASTE & TEXTURE: light, buttery, crispy sweet crust.
- QUANTITY: this recipe is enough to line a 25cm (10 inch) maximum, flan tin or eight 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins. (approx. 500g dough)
For this recipe all you need are these ingredients:
- Plain or all-purpose flour – is ideal for the pastry as it does not contain high levels of gluten.
- Butter – gives the pastry a nice rich buttery taste and should be chilled to ensure the pastry dough remains cold to avoid overheating while mixing.
- Fine sea salt – enhances the ingredient flavours.
- Icing sugar (powdered sugar) – gives this pastry a refined sweet taste.
- Eggs – are used to bring all the ingredients together in a nice smooth paste.
While I am making recommendations for alternative ingredients, I haven’t necessarily tried them. If you try making any adaptions, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
SUGAR-FREE AND LOW-CALORIE OPTIONS
- Icing sugar suggestions: try alternatives such as Pure Via Baker’s icing sugar or Canderel Bake! sugar free icing sugar.
- Flour: replace the gluten flour with a 1:1 alternative gluten free flour, such as Doves Farm Free plain gluten free flour. If possible, choose a flour which contains xanthan gum or alternatively, add 1 tsp to your batter for stability. You can also try Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour.
WHAT VARIATIONS CAN I MAKE?
- Citrus flavouring – for a bit of zing, add the zest of a lemon, lime, or orange to the flour before mixing.
If you experiment, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
Serving: per 100g
Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, or the source of nutrition data.
I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy.
I encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
This dough will keep well for up to 5 days, wrapped well in the fridge.
Freezing: Once prepared this dough can be wrapped in clingfilm and frozen for up to 1 month.
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TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
Here is some kitchen equipment that I use and recommend for this recipe.
TIP: I highly recommend using metric measurements and a digital kitchen scale, rather than cup measurements. If you have ever ended up with dry, dense or crumbly baked goods, it might be because of inaccurate volume measurements, not all measuring cups are made equally. All my recipes on this blog are carefully developed so that you can easily recreate them in your own kitchen with success, using metric measurements. It is also a lot easier, less messy and you will get far better, consistent results. 🙂
If you are interested in understanding conversions, here you will find the best conversion chart.
The golden rule of making shortcrust pastry is to keep the ingredients, equipment, and your hands as cool as possible. With this in mind, gather together all your equipment and weigh all the ingredients before you begin.
Don’t overwork the dough – Constant kneading of the dough activates the gluten in the flour, causing the dough to become tough and even shrink more when baked. Remember that the less you touch the dough, the shorter and flakier your pastry will be.
Use the least amount of flour when rolling out your dough to keep it from sticking to your kitchen worksurface. The more flour there is, the heavier your dough will be.
Don’t skip chilling the sweet shortcrust dough for as long as possible. If you’re in a rush, you can get away with freezing it for half an hour. Keep in mind that allowing it to rest for longer in the fridge gives time for the gluten in the dough to relax, making it easier to roll and decrease the amount of shrinking during baking. Make sure to let the dough come back to room temperature before you try rolling it out, or it is likely to break apart.
Make sure to use flour that is low in gluten (proteins). Plain or cake flour are usually the best, alternatively 00 is good.
To get a really crisp bottom on your tart shell, place a heavy baking tray in the oven while it is heating up, then place the tart or pie directly on it.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 250 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 100 g butter (see notes)
- 100 g icing sugar (US powdered sugar) (or caster sugar)
- a pinch fine sea salt
- 2 eggs (50g each and chilled)
- I recommend freezing your butter for 20-30 minutes, prior to starting. * see notes.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Try not to overwork the dough as it will start to warm and will become too elastic and shrink when baked. We don't want the dough overheating so if you are only making a small amount of pastry, it is always best to make it by hand. I only ever use a food processor if I am making large amounts.
- Add the icing sugar, salt and mix well.
- Add the eggs and mix again. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times with the palm of your hand, until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.
- Wrap in greaseproof paper or cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hours to relax the gluten. If you are in a hurry, place it in the freezer for half an hour and then use as required.
Notes & Tips
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