Plain shortcrust pastry

Plain shortcrust pastry

Pâte brisée

20-30 cm pie plates
Vanessa Levis

This pastry, which does not include sugar, is good for savoury pies and pastries, and is fairly easy to handle. Butter will give the best flavour, but firm cooking margarine can be used if preferred.


Quantity Ingredient
225g plain flour
a pinch of salt
100g chilled butter or firm cooking margarine, diced
3 tablespoons iced water
lemon juice, squeezed


  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the diced fat and stir round with a knife until the pieces are coated with flour. Rub the fat into the flour between thumbs and fingertips, lifting your hands above the bowl to keep the mixture cool, until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Shake the bowl so that any large lumps come to the surface, then rub them in.
  2. Mix the water and lemon juice. Add 2 tablespoons of the liquid to the flour mixture and stir in quickly with a round-ended knife. When the dough starts to cling together, use the fingers of one hand to gather it into a ball. Sprinkle in more liquid only if necessary to dampen any remaining dry mixture in the bowl, and use the ball of dough to gather it up. The dough should leave the bowl clean.
  3. Place the pastry on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly by turning and pressing with the floured heel of your hand until smooth. Pat into a round, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, press the dough with your hand into a round or other shape as required. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll out, lifting and turning the dough frequently and lightly flouring the work surface as needed to prevent sticking. Chill again after shaping and before baking.
  5. Unless otherwise indicated, bake shortcrust pastry in a preheated 190°C oven.


  • Larger pastry shells

    For a 25 cm pastry shell or a two-crust 20–23 cm pie, follow recipe for Plain Shortcrust Pastry, using 2 cups plain flour, 150 g butter or firm margarine and about 4 tablespoons iced water with a squeeze of lemon juice added. For a two-crust pie, use a little more than half of the dough for the bottom crust, and the the remainder for the lid. Scraps can be used to decorate the pie if liked.
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