The only shortcrust pastry recipe you’ll ever need for your GF pies and tarts! This simple dough makes a perfectly soft and light gluten free sweet pastry, that can easily be made dairy free too.Jump to Recipe
If you’re a seasoned gluten free eater you may well have experienced the disappointment of a bad gluten free pastry. A tough, floury texture or a dough that falls apart might sound all too familiar. If this is the case, you’re in the right place. After a lot of testing I think I’ve cracked the perfect gluten free sweet pastry – hurray! This soft, buttery homemade shortcrust is great as a pie or tart crust, and you’ll only need a few simple ingredients to whip it up. And the recipe can also easily be tweaked to make it dairy free.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need
- Gluten free plain flour (I use Doves farm)
- Unsalted butter (or a dairy free alternative)
- Xanthan gum
- Light brown sugar
- An egg
How to make the gluten free shortcrust pastry dough
The first step is to rub together butter and flour to make a breadcrumb-like mixture. Then xanthan gum, salt and sugar are whisked through. Next, egg and water are mixed through until everything comes together into a dough. The dough needs to be chilled for 30 minutes before it’s rolled out and ready to bake.
How to put the pastry into the pie tin
Once the chilled pastry has been rolled out to about 3-5mm thickness, it can be laid over the top of the pie tin. Don’t worry if there are a few small cracks at this point as you can smooth them out as you shape the pastry into the tin. Use your hands to push the pastry against the sides and base of the tin so the dough closely lines it, then simply slice away any overhang with a knife. Prick the base a few times with a fork and it’s ready for the blind bake. Here, baking paper is laid over the pastry and baking beans are placed on top in an even layer, to weigh down the pastry and keep the base flat as the pastry bakes.
Is there an alternative to baking beans?
If you don’t have baking beans, no worries! There are a few simple alternatives that you’ll likely have in the cupboard already. Dry rice, lentils or beans will all work great. Pour them in and spread them out in a nice even layer to completely cover the base of the tin. Just make sure to discard these after using as they’ll no longer be suitable for cooking.
How do you make gluten free dough less crumbly?
In ‘normal’ (muggle 🤭) pastry dough, gluten is what gives that elastic texture and helps to stick everything together. That’s why some gluten free doughs can be a little crumbly and hard to work with. In this recipe, we use both egg and xanthan gum which help to bind the ingredients together and add that elasticity back in. The result is a soft, slightly sticky dough that’s easy to work with and most importantly won’t crumble into pieces before your eyes!
How do you keep gluten free pastry from going hard?
Another common problem with some gluten free shortcrust is the texture. Let’s just say it can often be tougher than desired! I’ve found that the magic ingredient to combat this is brown sugar as it gives a softer, melt-in-the-mouth texture to the pastry, whilst also adding sweetness and a little caramel flavour. Another top tip is to be careful not to overbake the pastry as cooking for too long will result in a much firmer, crisper pie crust.
Can I skip the xanthan gum?
Xanthan gum is an important ingredient when it comes to gluten free pastry. It helps to replace the elastic texture that gluten would usually give, so definitely don’t skip this here! Xanthan gum can be found in the free from section of many large supermarkets.
Which is the best gluten free flour to bake pastry with?
You’ll need to use a gluten free flour blend that has been designed to replace standard gluten-containing plain flour. This is usually made up of a blend of flours such as rice, tapioca, maize and potato. I generally use the Doves Farm plain flour. Single source flours such as almond or coconut have different properties and will not give the same result!
Storing and freezing your gluten free sweet pastry
If you’d like to make the dough in advance, it can be wrapped up and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or, you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, pop it back in the fridge and leave overnight.
The cooked pie crust will also keep well for up to 2 days in the fridge. Again make sure to wrap it in foil or cling film to prevent it drying out.
Some ideas for using your homemade gluten free pastry
I hope you’ll agree that this easy homemade pastry makes the ultimate gluten free pie crust! If you give the recipe a try, make sure to let me know how you got on by leaving a comment and rating below. You can also tag me in photos of your bakes on Instagram @BlueSkyEating. Enjoy! 🙂
Gluten Free Sweet Pastry
- 275 g gluten free plain flour (I use Doves Farm)
- 125 g cold unsalted butter or dairy free butter (I find that the Stork baking block gives the best results)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- Pinch of salt
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1-2 tbsp cold water
- Cut the butter/dairy free butter into small cubes and add to the bowl of an electric mixer (or just a large bowl if mixing by hand).
- Sieve the gluten free flour into the bowl and rub the butter and flour together with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the xanthan gum, brown sugar and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Put the bowl back onto your electric mixer and use the dough hook attachment. Gradually add the beaten egg as you mix on a low speed. Or, if mixing by hand, just use a fork to incorporate the egg through the mixture.
- Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to mix on a low speed/with a fork until the mixture resembles a slightly sticky dough. NOTE: I have found that when using dairy free butter, less water is needed so would advise adding 1 teaspoon at a time in this case until the desired slightly sticky texture is achieved.
- Use your hands to bring the mixture together into a ball of dough, but avoid handling much more than this. Wrap the ball up in cling film or foil and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
- Once the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper. It should be approx 3-5mm thick and big enough to cover your tin with a slight overhang.
- Carefully lay the dough over the pie tin. Push the pastry down into the base and sides so it closely lines the tin, then slice away the overhanging pastry with a sharp knife. Prick the base a couple of times with a fork.
- Place some baking paper over the pastry-filled tin and cover with baking beans, rice, or anything ovenproof that will weigh the pastry down evenly.
Timings if using this pastry for a pie or tart that will be baked again:
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the baking paper/beans and bake for another 6-8 minutes or until the pastry is completely cooked through.
Timings if using this pastry for a no-bake pie or tart:
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the baking paper/beans and bake for another 6-8 minutes.
Please note that nutritional information is based on estimated quantities and therefore not always 100% accurate.