Shortbread Crust


If you get tired of trying to get the perfect American flaky pie crust – give yourself a break and make this instead. Instead of layers of flaky which only come from lard or shortening this uses butter to make a forgiving, fuss-free crust that essentially gives you two desserts in one.

Begin this dough the day before because it needs to rest 24 hours in the fridge. This recipe makes enough dough for 2 9 inch pies or 1 double crust.

  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or Rockridge Orchards apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry or spelt flour
  • Beat sugar, salt and butter together until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining ingredients. Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. With the mixer on low or using a wooden spoon add the flour to the wet mixture and combine until it just begins to come together in a ball. Pat the ball into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap or put it in a tight fitting reusable container and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    This dough also freezes well and can be used to make rolled cookies in a pinch. It’s also fun to cut out large circles using a cottage cheese container and form tiny tarts using a muffin pan. Kids especially love the idea of getting an entire pie and it makes for a great way to use up extra preserves in the late spring!

    10 Responses to Shortbread Crust

    1. Pingback: Tonnamaker Apple Quince Tall Tart

    2. Annette, how long would you bake this pastry dough if you were making small tart shells in cast iron molds? Oven temp @ 400?

    3. That’s a good question. I would think it would bake faster in cast iron so watch it closely. I would guess 10 – 15 minutes prebake? I can never remember anything from one time to the next anymore! I must have just done this for my little tarts and look, that was only what, a month ago now? My mind is mush!

    4. Can I let this sit in the fridge for a little less than 24 hrs? I want to make a quiche for dinner tomorrow, but have not yet made this…I can run in there right now though!

    5. Sara – it would be fine! Just leave out the sugar if you are using it for something savory. You could even add a bit of herbs to the crust like thyme or sage would go nicely with eggs.

    6. Thanks! The herbs sound delicious, but I don’t know if my son would go for it…maybe half the crust!

    7. He sounds like pancake boy. Better to leave them out then risk him not eating it!

    8. Well… I finally made individual tartlets with it.

      I think I over baked them a bit because they turned out dry and hard. Maybe I rolled them too thin. Sigh.

      At what temperature do you bake this crust?

      The lemon meyer curd tastes wonderful but why are we cooking the eggs to 180 F? I’m using pastured eggs from the farm so no need to worry about salmonella and I noticed that the custard had already thickened at 140 F, which is the temperature at which it should be blended with the butter (and this would save time too). Any thoughts?

      The other thing, I’m not quite sure that the custard was at 140 F when I started blending, it might’ve been a bit warmer. Did blending on high make your custard thicken even more? Mine stayed rather thin.

      I left it in the fridge for a day and it thickened nicely but it starts to liquefy rather too quickly once out of the fridge. Same with yours?

      (BTW, I just resent -second time- that email you never got. I hope you can catch it this time.)

    9. I don’t even roll the crust out. I just push it in place with my knuckles and heel of my hand and I leave it pretty thick, maybe 1/2″? I prebaked at 399 since the 4 doesn’t work on my oven but then I baked the tarts at the temp stated in the recipe.

      It’s actually not my recipe, I just wanted to try it so I couldn’t answer as to why it was cooked to a certain temp. Definitely having the custard at a higher temp when you added the butter might matter but again, I’m not sure since it’s not my recipe.

      Mine was the perfect texture and silky smooth. It didn’t separate at all like you are describing but maybe that had to do with the temp when you added butter.

      I got that email both times and replied to it but you must not be getting my replies. Check your spam filter?

    10. Pingback: Grandma’s Rhubarb Custard Pie

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