This easy shortbread pastry is just what you need for those wonderful cream tarts and pies. The shortbread pastry dough is made in a food processor. It is a press-in, no-roll easy crust that you will want to use again and again.
What’s not to love about a fast and easy pastry crust made in a food processor!
What is a shortbread pastry?
Pâte Sucrée is the French term for a sweetened butter based pastry dough. It is traditionally used for tarts. The pastry is a mixture of butter, sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, and cream. It is slightly sweet with a cookie-like texture and rich with butter.
How much pastry does this recipe make?
This recipe makes enough dough for an 11-inch x 1-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. This is the shortbread pastry we used for our Chocolate Caramel Tart. It also will make a crust for one 9x13x2-inch baking dish for bar cookies if you don’t push the dough up the edges.
You could use it for two 8×8 inch pans but the crust in the 8×8 pans will be a bit thinner than a 9×13 inch pan and you will need to reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes.
A press-in shortbread pastry is crumbly and easy to mold to the pan with your fingers. The bottom of a metal measuring cup can be used to press and smooth the dough and the back of a teaspoon fits nicely against the inside edge of the pan.
Also, if you have one of these funny looking pizza rollers it works great creating a smooth bottom to the pastry.
How to make this easy shortbread pastry:
- Add the flour, sugar, salt, and butter to a food processor and process until it looks like fine sand.
- Whisk the egg yolks, cream, and vanilla together and pulse the processor as you add the egg mixture through the feed tube. Pulse just until the mixture is crumbly.
- Tip the crumbly dough into the tart pan and press to the bottom and sides.
- Prick the surface with a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Spray a piece of foil with non-stick oil and cover the frozen crust, molding it tightly to the bottom and sides. You will not need pie weights for this pastry crust.
- Place the tart pan onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-minutes.
- Transfer from the oven, remove the foil. If the filling is to be baked, cool before adding the filling.
If the filling is not going to be baked return the pastry to the oven and continue baking an additional 15-minutes. Cool completely before filling.
If you do not press foil onto the top of the pastry before baking it, the sides of the tart pastry will slump down. The foil helps hold the pastry in place. Since the edges are so short and the pastry is fairly thick, you don’t need pie weights but you can use them if you would like.
What can you use a shortbread pastry for?
Use this rich crust for any type of tart or several individual mini-tarts. It is especially wonderful when used in bar cookies and fruit turnovers. It also works well as the crust for a cheesecake.
If used as a crust with a baked filling the crust should only be partially baked as it will finish baking as the filling bakes. For a filling that does not require baking, the crust should be fully baked. In either case, be sure to completely cool the crust before adding the filling.
Freezable shortbread pastry:
You can freeze this pastry for up to 3 months. Just put the crumbly mixture into a freezer-proof sealable bag, label it and stick it into the freezer. Make a couple of batches ahead of time and freeze them before the holidays. It will make your holiday baking go so much smoother.
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- 2 cups (240 grams) flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup (169 grams) cold butter, cut into pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For one 11-inch x 1-inch tart pan with removable bottom
- Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of the food processor, pulse to combine.
- Add the butter pieces and process the mixture until it looks like fine sand.
- In a small dish, whisk the egg yolks, cream and vanilla together then pulse the processor as you add the egg mixture through the feed tube. Pulse just until the mixture is crumbly.
- Tip the pastry mixture into the tart pan. With your fingers or the bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup, press the mixture firmly and evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The back of a teaspoon works well in pressing and smoothing the dough to the sides.
- Prick the dough with a fork and place the tart pan on a baking sheet then set it into the freezer for 30-minutes to firm up.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Remove the frozen pastry tart from the freezer.
- Spray one side of a large piece of aluminum foil with non-stick oil and place it, oiled side down, over the pastry. Press the foil tightly against the pastry molding it to the crust and over the edge. There is no need for pie weights.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15-minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Let the pastry cool completely before filling.
- The bottom of a metal measuring cup can be used to press the dough smooth.
- Also, a pizza rollers is a great tool that smooths the bottom and fits up against the inside edge
- The back of a teaspoon also works well on the inside edge of the pastry
- For a tart with a baked filling par-bake the pastry shell for 15-minutes
- For a tart without a baked filling, bake the pastry shell for 15-minutes, transfer from the oven and remove the foil; then return to the oven and bake an additional 15-minutes.
- Pressing the foil on top of the pastry before baking it will ensure that the pastry holds its shape while baking and prevent the edges from slumping. Make sure you spray the bottom of the foil with non-stick spray first.
Serving Size1 slice
Amount Per ServingCalories 244 Total Fat 17g Saturated Fat 10g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 73mg Sodium 168mg Carbohydrates 21g Fiber 1g Sugar 5g Protein 3g