Basic Baking

Gluten Free & Vegan Shortcrust Pastry Base For Tarts

Missing out on pastry desserts makes me sad on the regular, so having a good free from pastry recipe is super important to me. This shortcrust pastry is ideal for sweet treats, when rolled out thick it’s almost like a biscuit casing your filling. Yum.

I often find ready to roll gluten free pastry tends to start leaking oil and shrink before my eyes the moment you put it in the oven. There is more oil in the pre-made pastry I use as the most readily available always seems to be puff, delicious but not the best when you’re making a tart.

Shortcrust pastry is actually easy to make, the only time consuming part is chilling it so that it resembles a dough rather than porridge. So don’t be scared, you can brave the pastry, maybe not puff straight away but you can definitely whip up a shortcrust pastry in no time.


You will need:

  • Stand mixer with a dough hook
  • Rolling pin
  • 23cm (9 inch) pie tin
  • Sheet of baking paper
  • Baking beads

Ingredients:

  • 85g (7 tbsp) Trex or a hard vegetable shortening
  • 50g (½ cup) icing/confectioner’s sugar
  • 200g (2½ cups) plain gluten free flour
  • ½ tbsp ground flax seed
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp xantham gum (optional)
  • 3 tbsp cold water

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 190°C (374°F) and grease the pastry tin with oil.

Step 2

Chop the cold vegetable shortening into small cubes and place in the mixing bowl. I use vegetable shortening rather than spread to keep the pastry firm. Sift over the sugar, flour, flax seed, salt and xantham gum if using, and start to blend the ingredients together using a spatula or wooden spoon, once mostly combined rub between your hands to form a sand like consistency.

Step 3

On a medium speed start to churn with the dough hook, adding the water a spoonful at a time. Make sure the water is really cold, the colder the mixture the better it will hold together. Once all the water is added turn the mixer up to high speed until everything is combined. Then stopping the mixer, scrape down the sides and beat again. A dough should start to form and cling to the hook, it may still be slightly gooey.

Step 4

Press the dough together with your hands, sprinkling some flour over the top and patting. This will help to turn a gooey mixture into a dough, only dust you are not trying to add extra flour to the mixture here, just stop it sticking to your hands. Work the dough together, kneading until it is smooth, if it sticks to your hands lightly dust with more flour. Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 days, it can also be frozen at this point. Don’t skip chilling as this will make your dough much more manageable.

Step 5

Sprinkle flour over a sheet of baking paper and place the dough on top, before dusting another layer of baking paper and placing flour side first onto the dough. Roll the dough out between the two layers of baking paper into a circle of about 29cm diameter and approximately 5mm thickness. The thickness you roll out is the thickness you want for your final pastry as it won’t change much when baked.

With gluten free pastry it’s a really good idea to use the baking paper method as it is often sticker than it’s glutinous counterpart and it helps when you want to transfer a rolled out piece. Try to work the pastry for as little as possible so as not to warm it up, making even more sticky.

Step 6

Gently peel the top layer of baking paper back and replace in it’s original position, before flipping it over and doing the same on the other side. This just ensures that the pastry will come away smoothly into the pie dish. Holding the dough and baking paper over your hand and arm to support it, take off the top layer of baking paper and flip to position over the dish before you peel away the other layer. Gently press the pastry into the dish, lifting at the sides slightly if you need to position it further into the dish. Use a sharp knife to cut away any excess around the edges and prick the base to allow trapped air out.

Step 7

Now the pastry is ready to blind bake. Not literally, eyes open people ovens are hot. Blind baking or part baking is important to prevent the bottom of the pastry being under cooked once the filling is in. You want to crumple up a sheet of baking paper to make it pliable, then place over the pastry and fill with baking beads. Make sure the beads fill the dish and are up against the edges, as they will stop the base rising and the edges shrinking down the sides without the weight of the filling to support them. Bake for 10 minutes.

Baking Beans
Unbaked Pastry Filled With Baking Beans

Step 8

Remove from the oven taking the beads and baking paper out. Either let this cool slightly before filling or bake for another 5 minutes without the baking beads to ensure you won’t end up with a soggy bottom.

Part Baked Pastry
Part Baked Pastry Base

Thanks for reading 😊

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