Sweet shortcrust pastry in a tin

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Shortcrust pastry is the most versatile you’ll come across, with its delightfully crumbly texture that is perfect for soaking up juices. However, if you’re making a dessert then you can make it even more delicious by using sweet shortcrust pastry. Read on for the recipe and tips on how to get a perfect result. Every time.

What exactly is it?

Shortcrust pastry is one of the simplest and most common doughs. It’s hugely versatile and you’ll find it in an array of sweet and savoury recipes, from classic meat and vegetable pies such as this homity pie, through to desserts such as fruit tarts or this old-school cornflake tart.

Sweet shortcrust pastry is simply made with the addition of sugar to give a more saccharine result. Therefore this type of pastry is suited to sweet recipes. In France, it goes by the name Pâte sucrée or you may also see it called sweetcrust pastry.

Shortcrust is made with a basic mixture of flour and fat, in a ratio of 2:1, and a little water. To make this into sweet pastry sugar is also added along with the flour before mixing. I also use egg yolks, which give a richer texture to the dough, although they are not essential (however, if you don’t use them you will need to increase the amount of water – see the ingredients section below).

Can I use regular shortcrust pastry instead of sweet?

You may find that your recipe calls for sweet shortcrust pastry, and the good news is that you can most certainly use regular pastry instead if that is what you have available. As shortcrust pastry is bland it will go fine with sweet or savoury dishes. However, sweet pastry will give a sweeter result and therefore is not suitable to use in savoury dishes.

Do I have to chill shortcrust pastry?

Chilling the pastry is essential to develop a texture that is easy to roll. Resting the dough allows the gluten in the flour to become more flexible. Furthermore, chilling the pastry also helps to solidify the butter, which is essential for the crisp and crumbly texture.

Chill the pastry for at least half an hour, but ideally 1-2 hours. You could alternatively put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed things up if you are short on time.

Sweet shortcrust pastry on a stand

Why is it so important to use cold ingredients?

When making shortcrust you should make sure that all the ingredients are cold – the butter, liquid and eggs. You could even chill the flour and sugar briefly in the fridge if you are working in a warm environment.

The reason for this is that the texture in this pastry is made by small clumps of fat (butter) which are scattered throughout the dough after combining the flour and butter. When baked this fat melts, leaving gaps in the pastry and giving it that all-important layered and crumbly result. Therefore, it is important for the butter not to melt during preparation.

Can I freeze it?

You can freeze the pastry dough for up to 3 months. Wrap it in clingfilm before freezing and then defrost thoroughly in the fridge before baking.

Ingredients

You need only a few simple ingredients for this pastry. For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card:

Sweet shortcrust pastry ingredients
  • Plain flour – make sure to only use plain flour as self-raising flour will cause the pastry to rise.
  • Icing sugar – caster sugar can be used as an alternative, although icing sugar will make the dough smoother.
  • Cold butter, cut into cubes – slicing the butter into cubes will make it easier to mix in with the flour
  • Cold water
  • Egg yolk

Equipment

How to make it

For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps
  1. Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl and then add the cubed butter. Use your fingers to rub the flour and butter together until you have a breadcrumb consistency.
  2. Add the water and egg yolks and mix with a fork until everything has just combined and no longer.
  3. Press the dough together into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour, but ideally 1-2 hours before using.
  4. You can either freeze the dough or use it straight away. If you are making a tart then see below for details on how to prepare the tart base.

To create and bake a tart base:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Roll the pastry so it is just larger than the tart tin.
  3. Carefully transfer the pastry to the tin and press it in around the edges. Prick it all over the base with a fork and then line with baking paper and tip in the baking beans.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes before removing the baking paper and beans. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Looking for some great pastry recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Set of 3 pie dishes with removable bases

Set of 3 non-stick pie dishes with fluted edges in different sizes: – 20cm x 2.5cm | 7.9in x 1in – 24cm x 2.5cm | 9.4in x 1in – 28cm x 3cm | 11in x 1.2in

Rolling Pin and Silicone Baking Pastry Mat Set

– Food Grade, High-Quality Stainless Steel – Perfect Thickness Every Time: The rolling pin makes you roll the dough to a precise thickness perfectly and consistently. Four sizes of detachable rings: 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8 inches (2mm / 4mm / 6mm / 10mm)

Ceramic Baking Beans

Ceramic baking beans with a great storage container! Perfect for blind baking.
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Sweet shortcrust pastry in a tin

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry


  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 59 minute
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This Sweet Shortcrust pastry has added sugar to level up your baking and add extra sweetness. It is super easy to make and great for freezing ahead.

The default recipe makes 450g of uncooked pastry. Enough to make a tart case around 24cm/9in in diameter. 

Nutrition information is based on one portion serving 8.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 250g / 9oz plain flour
  • 125g / 4.5oz unsalted butter, cold & cut into cubes
  • 50g icing sugar (see note 1)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub the flour into the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (see notes 2, 3)
  2. Add the water and the egg yolks and use a fork to mix everything together. Only mix until everything is just combined and no longer.
  3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and then place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. (see note 4)
  4. Once the dough has rested in the fridge you can roll it out and use it with a host of sweet recipes. Use it for a tart, bake it stuffed with chocolate or fruit or in a sweet pinwheel recipe.
  5. You can freeze the unbaked pastry by wrapping well in clingfilm and storing it in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you are using the dough for a pastry case then for best results follow the instructions below to blind bake the pastry.

To Blind Bake the Pastry for a tart:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. 
  2. First, roll out the chilled pastry with a rolling pin. Make sure that the pastry is large enough to fill the tart tin allowing for a little overhang from the edges. 
  3. Carefully roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and then unroll it over the tart tin. Press the pastry around the edges very carefully so that it is flush with the sides of the tin. 
  4. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork and then press a large sheet of greaseproof/parchment paper into the dish. (see note 5).
  5. Add some baking beans or uncooked rice into the pie dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beans/rice and then return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.  (see note 6)
  6. Trim any pastry overhanging the dish and then layer in your choice of filling before baking according to the recipe instructions.

Notes

  1. If you want a very sweet pastry then you can double the amount of sugar
  2. Don’t overwork the butter and flour as you don’t want the heat from your fingers to melt the butter. 
  3. You can alternatively use a food processor to mix the butter, flour and sugar.
  4. Chill the pastry for at least half an hour, but ideally 1-2 hours. You could alternatively put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed things up if you are short on time.
  5. It is easier to work with the greaseproof paper if you scrunch it up first and then unfold it. 
  6. If you use rice to blind bake the pastry then you can store it in a jar and use it next time you need to blind bake (it won’t be suitable for cooking after baking).
  • Prep Time: 1.5 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Pastry
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 258
  • Fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Protein: 4g

Keywords: pastry, tart, pie, basic, easy

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