How to Make Perfect Shortcrust by Hand or Machine

Pie made with shortcrust
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
216 Calories
12g Fat
24g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 109mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Shortcrust pastry dough is a simple recipe used for pies, tarts, and quiche. It calls for just four ingredients—flour, fat, salt, and water—and the ratio of flour to fat is usually 4-to-1. Shortcrust pastry is easy to make and can be prepared either by hand or with a food processor. It's one of the most versatile pastries because it can be used for both savory and sweet dishes.

This recipe makes enough for the top and bottom crust of a 7-inch pie. If you are not sure how much pastry you need, check the pastry calculator.

1:16

Watch Now: Perfect Shortcrust Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cubed (or an equal mix of butter and lard)

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons very cold water

Steps to Make It

By-Hand Method

  1. Gather the ingredients

    Perfect shortcrust ingredients
  2. Place the flour, salt, and butter in a large, clean bowl.

    Flour, salt, and butter in a bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough from becoming warm.

    Butter is rubbed into the flour mixture
     The Spruce
  4. Add the water to the mixture. Using a cold knife, stir until the dough binds together. Add more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry. Form the dough into a ball.

    Dough is formed into a ball
     The Spruce
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

    Dough is wrapped in plastic wrap
     The Spruce
  6. Use the shortcrust dough in your favorite pie, tart, or quiche recipe.

Food Processor Method

  1. Place the flour, salt, and butter into the bowl of the processor.

    Flour, salt and butter in a food processor
     The Spruce
  2. Using only the pulse setting, pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Avoid overmixing if you can. (Too much handling can result in hard, dry pastry.)

    The ingredients are pulsed until it resembles breadcrumbs
     The Spruce
  3. Through the funnel on the top of the processor, slowly add the water a little at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball.

    The dough is starting to come together
     The Spruce
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes and up to half an hour.

    The dough is wrapped in plastic wrap
    The Spruce
  5. Use in your desired pie, tart, and quiche recipe. Enjoy.

Shortcrust Tips

By following a few tips, you can assure success when making shortcrust pastry.

  • Gather together all your equipment and ingredients, and weigh all of the ingredients before you begin. 
  • The golden rule of making shortcrust pastry is to keep the ingredients, equipment, and your hands as cool as possible. When the pastry mixture becomes too warm, the end result is a greasy and/or heavy, dull finished pastry crust.
  • Work quickly as it makes a lighter pastry.
  • Don't skip resting the dough; resting allows time for the gluten (proteins) in the dough to relax.
  • Always put the pastry into a preheated, hot oven. If the oven is too cool, the pastry will melt rather than cook.
  • To ensure your tart or pie crust is crisp, place a heavy baking sheet in the oven while it is heating up, then place the tart or pie directly on the heated tray.

What's the Difference Between Shortcrust Pastry and Pie Crust?

Shortcrust pastry dough is a type of pie crust. Known as pâte brisée in French, it doesn't include leavening agents and (usually) no sugar. It's flaky and crispy rather than puffy once baked. The most often used type of pastry, it's good for both sweet and savory recipes.

  • Pâte sucrée is a sweet (or rich) shortcrust pastry that adds sugar and egg to the mix, creating more of a cookie-like texture in the finished pie.
  • The third kind of pastry is pâte sablée (sandy pastry). This version adds more butter and sugar, resulting in a very crumbly crust.

Does Shortcrust Pastry Need to Be Baked Before Filling?

Whether or not you need to prebake shortcrust before adding the filling depends on the recipe. Known as "blind baking," partially baking the crust prevents soggy fruit pie crust and is used when the crust takes longer to bake than the filling. For pies in which the filling is not baked (e.g., cream pies), the crust must be baked first.