If you like to bake, you know that a good shortcrust pastry is a recipe that every baker needs in their back pocket. Shortcrust dough is a little more biscuity and crumbly than its pastry counterparts and is less likely to soak up fluids from fillings, so it’s perfect for things like quiches, fruit pies, and chicken pot pies. It’s maybe the most versatile of all the pastry doughs (certainly more practical than puff pastry), and luckily very easy to make!
It’s a simple dough. Fat is cut into flour until it forms a pebbly mixture. This process ensures that there are still noticeable pieces of fat in the crust, which release steam in the oven and help create a flaky texture. When it comes to fat, you can use butter or lard or shortening… but we like an all-butter crust because we always have butter on hand and find it creates the best flavor!
The keys to a good shortcrust dough are keeping your ingredients cold and not overworking the dough. This way, you get a cohesive dough, but the ingredients still bring their individualities to the party. Add just enough ice water for things to hold together, don’t over-mix anything, and you’re well on your way to the perfect pastry crust!
Shortcrust Pastry Dough
Serves yields 2 pie crusts; 10 minutes active, 30 minutes inactive
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 4-6 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter in until the mixture is grainy and there are no pieces of butter larger than the size of a pea.
- Add the water a tablespoon at a time, stirring until the mixture just holds together. Form dough into one or two discs, cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.