Sweet Basic skills Pies & Tarts

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

This sweet shortcrust pastry dough is easy to make, and is a great "base" recipe for your next creative dessert.

I’ll be honest – this sweet shortcrust pastry dough took me over a year of intermittent tweaking, adjusting, and experimenting to perfect. Some people are truly gifted at the art of making the perfect pie crust, and other people (read: me) need a lot more time to achieve the results they’re looking for. Fortunately, after a long season of sporadic pastry trials, my result was a dough that is sweet, flaky, and – in my mind – nearly perfect.

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The best part about about this dough? It is endlessly versatile. I normally use this dough for pie crust (you can see it in action in my strawberry peach basil pie), but you can use it in nearly any sweet recipe that calls for a shortcrust pastry dough. Whether you’re making pumpkin pasties for a Harry Potter party, a tart to share at a bridal shower, or a sweet galette as a simple dessert, this pie dough will give you a wonderful final result.

Wait…what is shortcrust? And what makes it short?

“Shortcrust” refers to the flaky pastry used as the dough for pies and tarts. Sometimes it is savory (as in the case of a chicken pot pie), but most people are familiar with its capacity for enveloping sweet treats. A traditional shortcrust pastry calls for a 2-to-1 ratio of flour-to-fat. That fat source is generally butter, lard, or – you guessed it – shortening. Instead of melting the fat and blending it into the dough, as you do with cookie dough, shortcrust uses cold butter or shortening, which is then cut into the dry ingredients. The butter then remains in small, distinct pieces throughout the dough – giving it the classic flaky texture people associate with a good pie crust.

Ingredients

In the main recipe card below, the ingredient amounts given will produce enough dough for a single-crust pie. If you’re looking to make a pie like the one pictured above, with a crust on top, look in the “Notes” section of the recipe card for the doubled recipe amounts.

Like any shortcrust pastry, this recipe requires a few simple ingredients.

  • Unsalted butter (cold, chopped into cubes)
  • Powdered sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Cold water
  • An egg

How to make sweet shortcrust pastry dough

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and powdered sugar. Slowly cut in cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

The first ingredients for sweet shortcrust pie dough - flour, powdered sugar, and cubes of cold butter - sit in the bowl of a food processor.

Beat an egg in a separate bowl before slowly pouring it into your primary mixture. Mix or pulse the mixture until just combined.

Form the dough into a rough disc shape, wrap tightly with cling wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

A ball of sweet shortcrust pastry sits on a silicone mat that has been covered in flour. It is ready to be rolled out and placed in a pan.

After resting, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is a roughly ⅓” thick. (If making a double-crust pie, only roll out half of the dough at a time; allow the unused half to rest in the fridge until ready to prepare.)

Sweet shortcrust pastry dough has been rolled out on a white silicone mat. A marble rolling pin sits in the upper right of the picture.

Drape the rolled dough over a tart or pie pan, pressing and crimping the edges as necessary. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and return the dough to the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sweet shortcrust pastry dough has been laid into a tart pan and pressed into the bottom and sides. The dough hangs over the sides of the pan; the excess has not yet been trimmed.

If blind-baking, weigh the dough down with beans, sugar, or pie weights on a piece of aluminum foil before baking for approximately 20-25 minutes.

A baked strawberry peach basil pie - made with this sweet shortcrust pastry dough - sits on a dark surface. The pie has an artistic top crust, with braided edges and four interlaced strips of dough. The crust is slightly golden in color.

Blind baking is not strictly necessary with this dough, but I do recommend at least a short bake if your pie filling is going to be pretty “wet”, as in a berry pie. Obviously, you need to make sure the dough is baked before your pie is served, so blind baking would be essential if you are preparing a recipe that doesn’t call for the pie to be baked after the filling is added.

I hope you enjoy this sweet shortcrust pastry dough at home! How did you end up using this recipe? Have you tried making a double-crust pie, or perhaps some sweet turnovers? I would love to see any photos you post of your creation on social media – just tag @WhiskAverseBaking, or send a message to one of my social accounts to be featured. You can also leave a message in the comments below. If you would like to save this recipe for later, don’t forget to click the “Pin Recipe” button to save it to your favorite Pinterest board.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Dough

This sweet shortcrust pie dough is easy to make, and is a great "base" recipe for your next creative dessert.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Resting time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 single-crust pastry*

Equipment

  • Food processor (can substitute a pastry cutter or electric mixer)

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter cold, chopped into cubes
  • cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 egg

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and powdered sugar.
  • Use an electric mixer, a pastry cutter, or a food processor to slowly cut in cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Beat an egg in a separate bowl before slowly pouring into your primary mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Form dough into a rough disc shape, wrap tightly with cling wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • After resting, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is a roughly ⅓” thick round. (If making a double-crust pie, only roll out half of the dough at a time; allow the unused half to rest in the fridge until ready to prepare.)
  • Drape the rolled dough over a tart or pie pan, pressing and crimping the edges as necessary. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and return the dough to the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • If blind-baking, weigh the dough down with beans, sugar, or pie weights on a piece of aluminum foil before baking for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Notes

*The measurements above make enough dough for a single-crust pie. If you need to make enough dough for a double-crust pie, use the measurements below:
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter (cold, chopped into cubes)
  • ⅔  cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 eggs
Keyword dough, pastry cream, pie dough, shortcrust

1 comment on “Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Pasties - Harry Potter inspired - Whisk Averse Baking

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