Harriet Harcourt

Good All-purpose Shortcrust Pastry


1½ cups flour
120g butter, cut into small pieces
1-2 Tb cold water
1 egg yolk (see note)
1 Tb caster sugar (see note)


Place the flour, sugar (if using) and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 

Add the egg yolk and water through the feed tube and continue to process until the mixture starts to clump together.

Do not over process. 

Tip the dough onto the bench and shape it into a ball. 

Roll out to fit a 24cm tart tin. 

Chill for 30 minutes. 

Bake the pastry blind (see below) until golden, then cool.


  • For a savoury pastry, omit the sugar.
  • While the egg yolk adds richness and colour to the pastry, it also makes it slightly more difficult to handle. You can easily omit the egg yolk if you haven’t got a lot of experience with pastry – just add extra water if needed.
  • You can’t use the chickpeas, rice etc to eat after using them for blind baking but do store them in an airtight jar when cool and re-use multiple times.


  • Crumple a piece of greaseproof or baking paper big enough to fit the pastry lined tart tin, then ‘unscrunch’ it and place in tart shell (this softens the paper, so it is less likely to cut into the pastry).
  • Fill the paper-lined shell with rice, dried beans, chickpeas – whatever you have available, and bake the shell for 10 minutes at 180°C. 
  • Carefully remove the beans & paper and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the shell is golden.