Basic Sweet Pastry

Basic sweet shortcrust pastry.

It is a beautiful thing. It can be used for pies, tarts and pastries of all sorts.

It seems though, that shortcrust pastry is sometimes feared, that it is too hard to make, too complicated, or some are afraid it won’t turn out.

So I thought I would share with you my basic recipe for shortcrust pastry.

There are many variations out there, using different sugars, different wet ingredients and different methods, but this is my favourite and has never failed me.

It makes for a rich, crumbly, and flaky pastry, and is perfect for things like apple pie. It is easy to make, easy to work with and rolls out beautifully, so I love it.

I usually make it using my stand mixer, but I am in Poland at the moment, and there are no stand mixers in my uncle’s kitchen. So today I will show you the more traditional rub-in method, by hand. You can always use a stand mixer or food processor to make your pastry.

The principles of this shortcrust pastry are simple.

All your ingredients must be cold.

You should mix it as little as possible once you have added the liquid so you don’t get a tough dough.

And it needs to be rested in the fridge for at least an hour before you use it, to let the gluten relax so it doesn’t shrink when baked.

Follow those simple rules, and you should be fine.


Makes one small pie, but the recipe can easily be doubled to make a bigger pie or for a thicker crust.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, cold and cubed (4.5 oz, 1/2 cup)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

On a clean worksurface or in a large bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter.

Crumble the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the center and add the egg yolk, cold water and vanilla.

Slowly mix into the dry ingredients, using your hands, until a dough forms.

Do not knead the dough, but rather bring it together to form a ball.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably for 3.

And there you have basic sweet dough!

14 Thoughts on “Basic Sweet Pastry

  1. Thanks for sharing this, I’m always eager to see what kind of pastry crust other people use…the whole butter vs shortening debate! Yours sounds delicious! Is this enough to make the top and bottom crust or just the bottom?

    • It will make both top and bottom but it will be thin. I prefer a super thick crust and usually make a large pie so i tend to double the recipe.
      I don’t like the lack of flavour in a shortening crust! what method do you usually use?

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  7. Gemma johnson on July 28, 2013 at 11:18 am said:

    Thanks Natasha! Great recipe worked perfectly for me.

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  9. Iesha on June 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm said:

    Hi Natasha,
    when the dough has refrigerated for an hour, and its time to roll it out do you have to re chill it or can it be baked immediately.

    Can this dough be used as a base for a custard tart?

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