Pâte Sucrée, or sweet shortcrust pastry, is a rich, slightly crumbly pastry with a higher ratio of fat to flour than some other pastry recipes. With added sugar, it's slightly sweet and very good.
Rich and melt in your mouth tender, a good shortcrust pastry is a must-have for any baker. With a high ratio of fat, both from butter and egg yolks, this is a pâte sucrée as it has a significant amount of sugar added to the dough.
Sweet shortcrust is excellent for tarts, both mini and full-size, and makes a nice pie dough. It is more crumbly than flaky - very, very short - and so is ideal for small bites like mincemeat tarts.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Egg yolks: use large egg yolks, and they can be cold for this recipe.
- Sugar: cane and granulated sugar can be used interchangeably but note that there may be small dots in the pastry if using a larger granulated sugar.
- Make it dairy-free: use a good vegan butter (we like Miyoko's) to make the shortcrust dairy free. There is no substitute for egg yolks.
Step 1: add the cold butter to the flour in a mixing bowl.
Step 2: mix until crumbly, then add the egg yolks.
Step 3: mix again. The dough should look sandy at this point.
Step 4: slowly add the water until the dough comes together.
Step 5: divide the dough in two and wrap it to rest.
Step 6: roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper.
Step 7: transfer the dough to a tart tin and gently press in.
Step 8: trim off any excess pastry and freeze or use.
- Use salted butter: this recipe doesn't have any salt added, and it's because you should be using salted butter. If you only have unsalted, add ½ teaspoon salt to the flour.
- Chill everything: even the bowl, if your home is warm. In the summertime we recommend placing the mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes before starting.
- Don't over-mix: too much mixing, or kneading rather than patting into the disc shapes, will result in tough pastry. Light hands, cold ingredients.
Like most pastry recipes, keeping the ingredients cold is very important. Ice water, cold butter, even cold flour. If your space is on the warm side, you can chill the bowl ahead of time too.
Add the water bit by bit as outlined in the recipe. Too much water will result in a too-wet pastry that won't have a proper short crumb. If it seems too crumbly, check to see if it holds when pressed between a finger and thumb - it it does, that means it'll hold when it's rolled out, too.
If you don't want to use plastic wrap for chilling, we recommend a double-method: wrap the pastry in beeswax wrap and then place it in an airtight container. This works well and it's a good plastic free alternative.
How to Store
Storage: this will depend on what you're using the pastry for, and what type of filling. Generally speaking, shortcrust can be on the counter in a sealed container for a couple of days but will soften if filled.
Freezing: freeze the dough or the par-baked shells. To freeze the dough, place the wrapped discs in an airtight container and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. To freeze shells, wrap well and freeze in the tart tins for extra protection. Thaw in the refrigerator before adding filling.
Why is my sweet shortcrust pastry hard?
This will likely be due to over-mixing. Don't knead the dough and work it as little as possible, especially after the water is added.
What does egg do in shortcrust pastry?
Egg yolks makes the pastry shorter (richer, more crumbly) and add a slightly golden colour.
Why do you chill pastry before baking?
Shortcrust is chilled before baking to ensure that it doesn't shrink during the blind baking process. It allows the gluten to relax and helps prevent shrinkage.
If you make this Sweet Shortcrust Pastry or any other baking basics on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Stand mixer
- Bees wax wrap or plastic wrap
- 9-inch (23-cm) tart tin
- Wax paper
- Pie weights or dried beans
- Aluminum foil
- Rolling Pin
- Wire rack
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold butter cut into small pieces
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- Ice water
- Fit the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the flour and butter to the bowl and mix on low until the mixture is coarse and crumbly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the sugar to the bowl, mix to combine, then add the egg yolks. Again, mix on low until the yolks are well distributed and the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly dribble 2 tablespoons of ice water into the flour.
- Let it mix for a minute to see if the dough will begin to gather together. If the dough is still quite dry and crumbly, continue to add water, ½ teaspoon at a time, until the dough begins to clump together. Stop the mixer.
- Dump the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into two. Quickly gather and shape each dough portion into a smooth disc.
- Wrap the discs in plastic or bees wax wrap and chill them in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.
To Blind Bake
- Remove one disc of dough from the fridge, and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. Have a 9-inch (23-cm) tart tin with a removable bottom ready.
- Line a work surface with a piece of wax paper large enough for the rolled out dough.
- Sprinkle the paper lightly with flour and place the unwrapped disc on the paper.
- Sprinkle the top of disc lightly with flour then top with a second piece of wax paper.
- Begin to gently roll the dough, turning the paper ¼ turn with each roll, until the dough is rolled approximately 12-inches (30 cm) in diameter.
- Gently slide your hand under the bottom sheet of wax paper and flip the dough over.
- Carefully peel away the sheet of wax paper which had originally been on the bottom.
- Gently flip the dough back over and do your best to centre it in the tart tin. The exposed bottom of the dough should now be laying in the tin, and the top should still have the paper on it.
- Once the dough is positioned in the tin, gently peel away the top sheet of paper.
- Use your fingertips to gently press the dough into and against the bottom and up into the inside walls of the tin.
- Once finished, use the rolling pin to roll around the edges of the tin, neatly cutting any overhang. You can use these overhanging pieces to patch any tears or holes in the dough.
- Place the unbaked tart crust in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Remove the crust from the freezer and gently line it with a large piece of aluminum foil.
- Fill the foil with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice.
- Place the crust in the preheated oven and bake it for 20 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven and remove the pie weights and foil.
- Return the crust to the oven and bake it for 10 minutes more. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.