Basic Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

Yields: Enough for one 9-10 inch pie crust, or a double crust if you plan to have a top and bottom to your pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice-cold water

Instructions

  • Combine dry ingredients: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and salt.
  • Cut in the butter: Add the cold butter cubes to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until it forms a coarse, crumbly mixture with some pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Work quickly to keep the butter cold.
  • Add water gradually: Start by adding 3 tablespoons of ice water and mix gently with a fork or a blunt knife. Add the 4th tablespoon gradually, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough just starts to come together. Avoid overworking the dough.
  • Form the dough: Gently gather the dough into a ball, then flatten it slightly into a disc shape.
  • Refrigerate: Wrap the dough disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days). This resting period is crucial, allowing the gluten to relax and preventing the pastry from shrinking during baking.
  • Roll out and use: After chilling, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll the pastry out to your desired thickness and shape, then use it for your favorite pie, tart, or quiche recipe.

Tips

  • Keep everything cold: Using cold ingredients and working quickly prevents the butter from melting too soon, ensuring a flaky crust. You can even chill your flour and bowl beforehand.
  • Don’t overwork the dough: Overhandling leads to tough pastry. Work just enough to bring the dough together.
  • Blind bake if necessary: If your filling doesn’t require baking, blind bake the crust. Line the crust with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or dried beans, and bake for 15-20 minutes before adding your filling.

Variations

  • Sweet shortcrust pastry: Add a tablespoon or two of sugar for a sweeter crust for dessert pies and tarts.
  • Whole wheat shortcrust pastry: Substitute half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a nutty flavor and added fiber.
  • Herbed shortcrust pastry: Add a teaspoon of dried herbs like thyme or rosemary for savory pies.

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