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rolling out shortcrust pastry on marble counter with tart tins
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Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

A simple buttery pastry, perfect for savoury applications like sausage rolls, quiche or tarts. You can also sweeten it by including icing sugar so that it can be used for desserts.
Please see the information in the blog post above & below the recipe card for my top tips, answers to FAQs and step-by-step images.
Course 'How to's, Baking Basics
Cuisine British, French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 10-inch tart crust (~350g pastry)

Ingredients

  • 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) plain white flour or pastry flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp fine table salt
  • 1 egg OR 1 egg yolk (optional, see notes)
  • 1 to 3 tbsp ice cold water

Instructions

  • Place the flour into a large bowl along with the cubed butter and salt. Toss together to combine then use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until no large lumps of butter remain. The mixture should have a coarse, mealy texture (it should look a bit like ground almonds).
    200 g (1 ⅔ cups) plain white flour or pastry flour, 100 g unsalted butter, cold, cubed, 1/2 tsp fine table salt
  • To check if the butter is fully incorporated, shake the bowl back and forth a few times which will force any larger clumps come to the surface which you can then rub in.
  • If using the egg, add it to the bowl without any water. If you're using an egg yolk add it along with 1 tbsp of water to the bowl. If not using any egg, add 2 tbsp of water to the bowl.
    1 egg OR 1 egg yolk, 1 to 3 tbsp ice cold water
  • Use a butter knife to 'cut' the wet ingredients into the dry - this helps to distribute the moisture around the bowl a bit.
  • Test if it's wet enough: the mixture should clump together when a handful is squeezed together. If it seems too dry to clump together properly, drizzle in an extra 1 tbsp of cold water, 'cut' it through with a knife.
  • Tip everything out onto a work surface and gently bring together by hand, squeezing it into a disk shape. You may have to knead it a couple of times to achieve this (try to mix as little as possible as overworking the mixture can lead to tough pastry). You should now have a smooth disk of dough.

If using the pastry now:

  • Either place the disk of dough into a sandwich bag and seal it, or wrap the dough tightly in cling film.
  • Chill the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes until cool but still malleable in texture. If the chilled pastry seems quite firm, allow it to rest at room temp for 2-5 minutes until it's soft enough to roll, before using.
  • Dust the disk of pastry lightly with flour before rolling it out to the desired size/thickness as designated by the recipe you need it for. I like to roll the pastry out on a large piece of baking paper as this stops it sticking to the counter. If at any point it seems the pastry is getting too warm, slide it onto a baking tray and chill for 10 minutes to cool it down.

If using the pastry later:

  • Either place the disk of dough into a sandwich bag and seal it, or wrap the dough tightly in cling film.
  • Chill the pastry either in the fridge for up to 3 days OR label & freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge/freezer and allow to come to room temperature before rolling it out as recommended by your recipe. For chilled pastry, this should take 30-60 minutes. For frozen pastry, this should take 2-3 hours.

Notes

Whole egg or just the yolk? If you're going for a richer, more crumbly pastry, just use the egg yolk. If you want a dough which is crisper and easier to handle, use the whole egg.
Egg-Free Pastry: you can replace the egg in this recipe with an extra tablespoon of ice cold water. The pastry will be slightly less tender this way but will still be crumbly and delicious. 
Dessert pastry: mix 50g (1/3 cup) icing sugar (powdered sugar) into the bowl of flour before rubbing in the butter.
Vegan Shortcrust Pastry: replace the egg yolk with an extra tablespoon of ice cold water. Replace the butter with a solid vegan block 'butter' - I like Naturli as it has a firm texture which is similar to dairy butter. If the fat isn't very firm (e.g. Stork baking block), use a 50:50 combination of vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisp N Dry or Trek) with the softer vegan butter.