With a crumbly texture and a melt-in-your-mouth buttery taste, this gluten free shortcrust pastry is the best for tarts, quiches and pies!
- What is shortcrust pastry?
- Sweet vs. savory shortcrust pastry
- Here’s why homemade shortcrust pastry is so great
- Which gluten free flours to use
- Why this recipe uses icing sugar
- Why this recipe uses xanthan gum
- How to make gluten free shortcrust pastry
- What is blind baking (par-baking)?
- Tips for making the best gluten free shortcrust pastry
- Use this to make a great quiche!
What is shortcrust pastry?
Shortcrust pastry is a type of pie dough that’s typically used for quiches, tarts and certain pies. It normally has double the amount of flour than fat, which doesn’t give it a flaky texture like traditional pie doughs. Instead, it’s buttery and crumbly. And ridiculously delicious!
Sweet vs. savory shortcrust pastry
Shortcrust pastry can be used for either sweet or savory bakes by adding or removing sugar from the recipe. This gluten free shortcrust pastry is standard for both sweet and savory, with just a bit of sugar added. This lets the fillings stay center stage, but adds just a little bit of sweetness. (You can always remove the sugar if needed.)
Here’s why homemade shortcrust pastry is so great
If you’re not quite ready to make your own gluten free shortcrust dough yet, let me try to convince you why it’s so great…
- It’s freezer friendly. You can freeze the dough or the finished pie crust to be used later. Prepare a few batches ahead of time and freeze it to make your next quiche or tart that much easier!
- It’s a different alternative to classic pie dough. Traditional pie dough has a flakier texture, but this shortcrust pastry is crumbly. Both are still buttery and delicious, this just changes it up a bit!
- This recipe is great for sweet or savory dishes. No need to switch the recipe here. Use this one for either a delicious gluten free chocolate tart or a Gluten Free Quiche. (You can omit the icing sugar, if you want.)
- Homemade tastes so much better! Sure, it’s really easy to pick up a pre-made gluten free pie crust (if you can find one), but nothing beats the taste of a buttery, crumbly, homemade shortcrust pastry.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own gluten free shortcrust pastry:
- White rice flour: adds a lightness to the dough
- Brown rice flour: has a mild & nutty flavour, but is heavier than white rice flour, to give the dough some stability
- Icing sugar: a lighter sugar that won’t leave a grainy texture to the crust
- Butter: cold and grated
- Egg: beaten, to help bind everything together
- Xanthan gum: the gluten free binder that works with the egg to bind and add elasticity
- Water: just a few tablespoons will do!
Which gluten free flours to use
This gluten free shortcrust recipe uses only 2 gluten free flours: white rice flour and brown rice flour. I haven't had much success baking with all-purpose mixes and prefer to make my own. I like being able to mix up what flours I’m using for different tastes and textures, and also like that I control additional gluten free binders (like xanthan gum). That being said, this recipe is an easy mixture of the 2 flours that should be available at most grocery stores. (I always find mine in the natural health foods section.)
If you want to try this recipe with a gluten free all–purpose mix, you definitely can! If the blend contains xanthan gum, just omit it from the recipe.
Why this recipe uses icing sugar
The sweetener used in this shortcrust pastry is icing sugar. It’s a lighter sugar that won’t leave a grainy texture in the crust. Since the only wet ingredients in the recipe are a single egg and a bit of water, if granulated sugar is used there is a chance it won’t be dissolved during mixing and rolling. No one likes a gritty pie crust!
Why this recipe uses xanthan gum
This gluten free shortcrust pastry calls for ½ teaspoon (2 grams) of xanthan gum. But is it necessary?
My answer is yes! Xanthan gum acts as a binder in gluten free bakes, providing the elasticity that gluten would have normally provided. Without xanthan gum, the dough wouldn’t come together properly and would lack the stickiness needed before baking.
Xanthan gum helps give structure and maintain moisture in gluten free goodies!
If you really don’t want to use xanthan gum, you can try substituting psyllium husk in the recipe. (Full disclosure, this has not been tested.) This article on the Bob’s Red Mill website suggests a 2:1 substitution for psyllium husk and xanthan gum. Since this recipe calls for ½ teaspoon (2g) of xanthan gum, add in 1 teaspoon (2g) of psyllium husk.
How to make gluten free shortcrust pastry
To make gluten free shortcrust pastry, you’ll need a medium-sized bowl. Mix together the white rice flour, brown rice flour, icing sugar, salt, and xanthan gum until they are combined. Add in the cold, grated butter and use your hands to mix the butter into the flour mixture. The dough should start to feel crumbly and sandy.
Add in the beaten egg and mix well with a spoon or spatula. Next, add in the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Let the dough warm up for a few minutes until it’s rollable.
On a well floured surface, roll the dough to ⅛” (30mm) thickness and at least 1” (2.5 cm) larger than the pie/tart plate. Transfer the dough to the pie/tart plate, ensuring that the shortcrust pastry fills the bottom of the pan. Patch any cracks or rips using excess dough as needed.
Optional step depending on your recipe: blind bake (par-bake) the crust in an oven set to 375℉ for 15-20 minutes until the edges and the base of the crust are set.
What is blind baking (par-baking)?
Blind baking, also called par-baking, is when you fully or partially bake a pie or tart dough prior to filling it.
Why do you need to blind bake? Well, sometimes the fillings that go into your baked goods are just too dang wet and heavy for the crust to bake through at the bottom. If you don’t pre-bake the dough, you’ll get that dreaded soggy bottom once your quiche or pie comes out of the oven.
To blind bake a crust, first piece the bottom of the prepared dough in the pan. This will allow the steam to rise out of the crust, instead of bubbling it. To prevent additional bubbling, place some parchment paper inside the pie or tart pan and add either baking beans, dried beans, or even rice on top. This will physically hold down the crust during baking. Bake as per your recipe, until the crust is set.
Not all recipes require blind baking. Be sure to check yours to see if it’s needed!
Tips for making the best gluten free shortcrust pastry
Here are a few tips on how to make this pastry dough the best it possibly can be!
- Use cold, grated butter. This recipe calls for cold, grated butter and using your hands to bring it together. This makes sure everything is incorporated nicely and has the perfect texture.
- Chill your hands, if needed. If your hands are hot, they can start to melt the butter while you’re incorporating it into the dough. We don’t want that! The butter needs to be chilled the whole way through and then melt and rise during baking. That gives the dough lightness and the crumbly texture. Chill your hands under cold, running water prior to making this recipe and you’ll be all set!
- Chill the pastry dough before rolling. If you’re tempted to skip the chilling step, don’t do it. As previously mentioned, the butter needs to be cold before baking to get the right texture. Let it sit on the counter for a minute after chilling, until it’s rollable. If the dough is too warm, or the butter is melting, simply pop it back into the fridge for 10 or so minutes to chill again.
- Use your pie/tart pan as a template for cutting the dough. When sizing the rolled dough, I typically flip the pie or tart pan over on top of the dough and cut around it 1-2” (2.5-5cm) in a circle. This extra allows for the crust to sink to the bottom of the pan without ripping. (You can fix the shape afterwards if you have a wonky circle!)
Dough can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days prior to using (just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap).
If you are making this gluten free shortcrust pastry ahead of time, you can freeze the rolled dough. After combining the ingredients and rolling into a ball, wrap the dough in plastic and place in the freezer. The day before you want to use it, defrost it overnight in the fridge. Before rolling, set the dough on the counter so it will warm up slightly and be easier to roll.
Fully baked crusts can be stored as per your specific recipe instructions.
Use this to make a great quiche!
This gluten free shortcrust pastry makes a great crust for a Gluten Free Quiche. Customize it with whatever fillings you enjoy and have yourself a delicious gluten free meal that will please anyone!
Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry
- ½ cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (100g) white rice flour
- 1 cup (150g) brown rice flour
- 2 tablespoons (18g) icing sugar optional
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- ½ teaspoon (2g) xanthan gum
- ½ cup (115g) butter cold and grated
- 1 egg beaten
- 4 tablespoons water cold
To make the dough:
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the white rice flour, brown rice flour, icing sugar, salt, and xanthan gum. Mix to combine.
- Add in the grated butter and use your hands to incorporate into the flour mixture. The texture of the dough should start to feel crumbly and sandy (but still dry).
- Add in the egg and mix with a spoon or spatula.
- One tablespoon at a time, add in the cold water. Mix thoroughly with each addition, until the dough is wet and comes together. Form the dough into a ball.
- Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from the fridge and allow it to warm up for a few minutes prior to rolling. Roll to a ⅛” (33mm) thickness and about 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) wider than pie/tart pan. The dough will be crumbly when you first roll it out, but you can work it with your hands a bit to make it more pliable.
- Gently transfer the dough into the pie/tart pan and press into the pan. Fix any rips, tears, or cracks with excess dough.
To blind bake (par-bake) the crust, if needed (check your recipe):
- Preheat oven to 375℉.
- Prick the base of the crust with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Place a piece of parchment paper into the pan, on top of the crust, and cover with baking beans, dried beans or rice.
- Place the pie/tart pan on a baking sheet and bake dough in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the edges and the base of the crust are set.
- Storage: dough can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days, or frozen. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic. Thaw frozen dough in the fridge overnight before using.