Shortcrust pastry

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Now it’s gotta be said. If a chef says they never use shop-bought pastry, they’re probably lying. Puff pastry takes days to make if you want it as good as the packet stuff, and filo is near-on impossible to make at home. Shortcrust, though, is super-easy and once you know how to make it, you’ll be whipping it out on the reg. This makes enough for 1 large pie (lid and base) and 1 tart (base only) or three big tarts (just a base). Freeze what you’re not using – then it’s even easier to show off your pies whenever the mood takes you.

This recipe makes 1 large pie (lid and base) and 1 tart (base only); or 3 tarts (base only).

I use this shortcrust recipe for my cheese and onion pie, which you should absolutely give a go.

Chef’s tip 

Most tart recipes call for ‘blind baking’ the pastry case. This means giving it an initial bake without any filling to prevent a soggy bottom. To do this, line it with a large piece of scrunched-up baking paper and pour in plenty of baking beans or dried beans to keep the pastry weighed down so that it doesn’t shrink too much. If you use dried beans, you can keep them again to use for blind baking – but don’t try to eat them!

This recipe is from my book, Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need 

Photographs © Louise Hagger, 2021


metric imperial
  • 1lb 2oz plain flour
  • 500g plain flour
  • 9oz butter, cubed and chilled
  • 250g butter, cubed and chilled
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten then chilled
  • 2 eggs, beaten then chilled
  • about 3–4 tbsp ice-cold water
  • about 3–4 tbsp ice-cold water


  1. Using your hands, a food processor or a stand mixer, combine the flour, butter and salt. Either: with your hands, rub the ingredients between your thumbs and fingertips; in a food processor, use the pulse function; or in a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and add the butter a few cubes at a time. Whatever the method, keep going until you have a breadcrumb texture.
  2. If you’re working by hand, make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add the eggs, then the ice-cold water as necessary, and work quickly to incorporate. If you’re using a food processor or stand mixer, add the eggs, pulse or mix, then add the water a little at a time. Once the dough starts to clump, tip it out and bring it together briefly by hand. You want just enough liquid so that the dough binds – don’t overwork it, otherwise the pastry will be elastic, rather than crisp.
  3. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and form each into a ball. Press the balls with the palm of your hand to turn each into a fairly flat, but fat disc (this will just help with rolling when you come to use the pastry). Wrap the pastry discs tightly in cling film and leave them in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes before using, or before freezing.