This is one of my most secret recipes. I have used it for about 20 years to rave reviews. Now it’s your turn to make it. Here’s my ultimate guide on how to make Shortbread Pastry
Making pastry at home is not as hard as you think. Shortbread pastry is very forgiving and bakes up to a crispy deliciously crunchy finish staying that way for days.
Pastry is one of the best things you can cook. You can make so many things with a great pie crust, both savoury and sweet.
I must have dozens of pies and tarts on this website and a number of recipes for different kinds of pastry. And I have also made videos on:
Both of these videos will help you when you start the rolling out process. This shortbread pastry is slightly different to the average crust. The butter is added to the mixture soft and whipped up a bit like a cake by creaming butter and sugar then adding eggs. The extra deliciously crunchy pastry is rich in butter and eggs making it an irresistible base suited to soft fillings like custard, chocolate and frangipane.
Make a couple of batches and freeze them, that way you will be able to whip up a dessert any time you like. The pastry keeps well frozen for up to three months
Making and handling Shortbread pastry
Q: So what is the difference between this “shortbread” pastry and other sweet pastry?
A: It is crunchier once cooked and stays crunchy for days even when filled.
- This pastry does not require chilled butter
- The butter and sugar are creamed before adding eggs and the dry ingredients making it look a bit more like a cake base
- The pastry needs to be well chilled after making and before rolling out
- Once chilled and nice and firm take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the bench to soften slightly before rolling.
- Roll out with a good dusting of flour running a palette knife under the pastry between rolls
- If the pastry gets too soft it will be hard to transfer into a pastry dish BUT if it breaks it is easily pushed together. Most pastry is difficult to push together as it breaks apart again when baking. This one is very successfully patched
- I usually just let the pastry overhang the sides and cook it this way
- Always put back into the fridge to chill with this pastry ( and all pastry) after rolling and before baking.
- This pastry is soft like a biscuit when it cooks and when it cools it hardens up and becomes a crispy shortbread shell
- After chilling and resting, bake the pastry blind by filling it with baking paper and beans. Bake till just starting to colour and set. That takes about 15 minutes. The pastry case will be lightly brown around the edges but still pale in the middle. Uncover the pastry and put the beans aside. Bake till golden and cooked through. This will take another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Cool the case on a cake rack then cut the excess pastry off around the perimeter with a sharp paring knife or scissors. (see video}
Follow the pictures below to check each stage.
Now you have the pastry you can make family-famous desserts!
You can also make this
Get the step by step instructions on how to make Frangipane filling.
Shortbread pastry. How to make Shortbread Pastry
- 150 gm butter softened (5.30 oz)
- 80 gm icing sugar powdered sugar (2.80oz)
- 100 gm eggs approximately 2 (3.5 oz)
- 50 gm almond meal almond flour (1.75 oz)
- 250 gm flour plain (8.80oz)
- You'll need a tart case with a removable bottom. The size could be 23 cm and up to 28 cm (9 to 12 inches). Set the oven to 180C / 350 F
- Beat the softened butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy, using the paddle attachment of your mixer
- Add the eggs and the almond meal and just mix together till combined,
- Add the rest of the flour to the mixture, and mix again just until it comes together. Pour the mixture onto the bench and gently work together or just press into a nice disc with your hands. The pastry is quite sticky, remove excess by rubbing your hands in some extra flour and adding back into the pastry mix. Wrap and chill for 1/2 an hour up to 24 hours if you prefer. Just remember the pastry needs to chill till very firm if not hard so it is easier to roll out.
- When you are ready to make your tart, take the pastry from the fridge, it will be quite firm. Leave it out of the fridge for 5- 10 minutes before rolling. You can also roll this pastry between two pieces of baking paper. If you prefer. (I like a very thin crust.) Lift into the tin, pushing into the bottom of the tin and the corners. Put back into the fridge or freezer, till firm ( 15- 20 minutes).
- Bake the case blind. this means laying paper over the chilled tart case and filling it with beans or rice or baking weights (like I have). Why? The weights keep the pastry from rising in the tin and causing an uneven surface. you could always prick the base with a fork but then you would not be able to add an liquid ingredients without them escaping out of thise hole. For example, if you wanted to make a custard tart the eggs would seep through the holes.
- Put the tart case filled with the weights into the oven and bake for around 15 minutes. Depending on your oven the bottom should be cooked but very pale.
- The next step is to take out the paper and put the case back into the oven until it is golden and cooked through. Why? This will ensure you have an amazing crunchy beautiful case that will not get soggy when you add a filling. It is perfectly fine to bake it again with the filling in it. It will not overcook or burn
- The tart case is now ready to use. For some great fillings follow the links above.
- When rolling out and working with pastry it is best to keep flour on surfaces and on hands to a minimum. Each addition of flour throws out the balance of your finished pastry
- If you are a chronic flourer than be a little more light handed for a bertter result
- This pastry will freeze well once it is made. Instead of popping into the fridge to firm up put it into the freezer where it will last for up to 2 months
- The case can also be made and baked and once cooled kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.