I get asked a lot how to make gluten free pastry – and you’ll be pleased to hear that making gluten free shortcrust pastry is actually surprisingly easy!
This blog post have everything you need for the perfect gluten free shortcrust pastry.
First up is an illustrated step-by-step guide to making gluten free pastry.
Underneath that is a recipe card which details measurements and is also printable!
Back in the day, making gluten free pastry used to be an absolute ordeal.
You’d end up with either a sticky mess that couldn’t be rolled, or a pastry so fragile you only had to look at it for it to break into fragments.
But nowadays, making a rich, buttery gluten free pastry is SO easy – here I’ll talk you through an easy step-by-step guide to making gluten free pastry, as well as some variations you can try!
How to make gluten free shortcrust pastry
Making gluten free pastry is super simple and you’ll only need a few basic storecupboard ingredients.
The ingredients you’ll need to make my gluten free shortcrust pastry are:
- Plain gluten free flour – I always use FREEE by Doves Farm plain flour. It works every time and it’s available in all supermarkets.
- Xanthan gum
- Medium eggs
- Unsalted butter
- A pinch of salt
- Lard or a vegetable fat such as Cookeen (see below)
- An extra egg for washing (if making something like a pie)
- Milk for washing (if making something like mince pies)
Obviously the amount you’ll need will vary depending on the recipe you’re using, but I always include all the measurements in my individual recipes.
This is more of a general guide to show you exactly how each stage of your gluten free pastry-making should look!
What kind of fat should I use in gluten free pastry?
I tend to go for one of three options when making my gluten free shortcrust pastry.
My favourite combination is to add half lard, half butter. This creates a deliciously rich pastry which melts in your mouth and works really well with savoury pies.
If you’re vegetarian, you can use half butter and half Cookeen, which is kind of like a veggie version of lard. This also creates a lovely pastry and works nicely with quiches
But making this pastry simply with just unsalted butter is also delicious. I like to use this option more for sweet recipes.
I personally have not experimented with dairy free pastry yet, but when I have I will certainly update this guide to reflect that.
Making sweet gluten free pastry
A sweet gluten free pastry is a lovely variation for sweet treats such as Bakewell tart, jam tarts, apple pies, mince pies and much more.
To make your gluten free pastry sweeter, all you need to do is add some caster sugar.
I like to add 1 tbsp to the base recipe above, so adjust this according to how much pastry you’re making.
It just adds a little hint of sweetness and is a great touch for any shortcrust pastry-based dessert.
Step-by-step guide to making gluten free pastry
Below is my illustrated step-by-step guide to making gluten free shortcrust pastry. There’s also a handy video I made too!
This photo guide talks you through exactly how to make my gluten free pastry recipe, and what each stage of the process should look like, as well as some helpful hints and tips.
Below this is a recipe card which you can print out, which has more detailed instructions and cooking times.
Step one: Add the flour and butter
The first stage in making pastry is to ‘crumb’ together the flour, xanthan gum and butter. Add the gluten free flour and xanthan gum to a mixing bowl and then add the butter (and Lard/Cookeen if using).
You want the fat to be as cold as possible when you do this, so make sure you take it straight from the fridge.
Then you’ll want to use your fingers to ‘rub’ the two together, until they start to form a breadcrumb-like consistency.
Another top tip here is to make sure your hands are cold – running them under some cold water beforehand helps. Otherwise you’ll find the fat will start to melt and it’ll all become very sticky!
Step two: Add your egg and a little cold water
I like to whisk my egg slightly beforehand with a fork (just to combine it) with 1 tsp cold water per egg used.
Then add to the mix and use a fork to start to ‘mush’ the mixture together. You’ll see it start to form a sticky dough.
Step two: bring into a dough and chill
Once it becomes harder to use the fork to mix, use your hands to bring the mixture together into a smooth dough.
You should be able to pick this up easily without it being too sticky.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This is a really important stage – you need the dough to chill a bit so it is easier to roll!
Step four: Get out the clingfilm!
If you’re making something like jam tarts or anything where you’re cutting out small shapes, you should just be able to flour the worktop and rolling pin, and then roll your pastry straight out.
However, if you’re making something like a larger pie or quiche, you may need a helping hand!
The easiest way to roll out your pastry is cover the worktop in clingfilm. Flour the clingfilm, place your pastry on top, and then cover with more clingfilm.
This will stop the pastry sticking to your rolling pin as you roll, but will also help you manoeuvre it into a pie dish without it breaking!
Step five: Moving your pastry
Once your pastry is rolled out, take off the top layer of clingfilm.
Use the bottom layer to pick your pastry up and flip it into the pie dish. Then peel off that layer and your pastry is in place!
This also works with baking paper if you don’t have clingfilm, and just makes it easier to move the pastry without it breaking.
Step six: The perfect fit
To get your gluten free pastry to perfectly fit the dish, the easiest thing to do is break off a bit of the overhang and roll it into a ball.
Use this ball of dough to gently push the pastry into the dish – this will stop you accidentally putting your finger through it!
Once in place, trim the edges – you can use any of the offcuts to patch up your pastry, or re-roll them to create a pie lid.
Although, as a kid, we always used these to make jam tarts!
Optional: The blind bake
Some recipes will call for a ‘blind bake’ of your pastry. To do this, you’ll want to prick the bottom of the pastry to ensure it doesn’t ‘pop up’ due to an air bubble while it cooks.
Place a piece of baking paper over the pastry and then fill with baking beans (or dried lentils/beans).
Bake for the time instructed on the recipe – this usually involves removing the beans half way through so you get a golden look to the pastry.
This isn’t essential in all bakes but it is often used in gluten free pie recipes to ensure you don’t get a soggy bottom!
Final step: Fill it up!
Whether you’ve blind-baked your pastry or not, you’ll finally need to fill your recipe.
This will be down to the individual recipe itself, but once filled you’ll need a final bake to ensure your pastry is golden and delicious.
For pies and bakes with a topping, either an egg-wash or brushing with milk is sometimes called for in the recipe for that extra shine or golden touch.
My gluten free shortcrust pastry recipe
So now you’ve seen my step-by-step instructions, here’s my basic gluten free shortcrust pastry recipe for you!
It’s super simple and easy to follow and I just know you’ll make the best pies, pastries, pasties and tarts – let me know if you give it a try.
And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
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- 340 g plain gluten free flour (I always use FREEE by Doves Farm plain gluten free flour)
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 tsp water
- 110 g unsalted butter, (cubed)
- 110 g Cookeen or Lard, (cubed)
- Pinch salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (for sweet pastry)
- 1 egg (beaten, for brushing pie tops)
- Add the flour, xanthan gum, salt (and sugar if using) to a large mixing bowl and stir together.
- Cut the COLD butter and Cookeen/lard into cubes and then add to the bowl. Using your fingers, rub the mix together until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl or mug and add the cold water. Whisk together until just combined. Then add to the mix and use a fork to start to ‘mush’ the mixture together. You’ll see it start to form a sticky dough.
- Once it becomes harder to use the fork to mix, use your hands to bring the mixture together into a smooth dough. You should be able to pick this up easily without it being too sticky.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This is a really important stage – you need the dough to chill a bit so it is easier to roll!
- Roll the chilled dough between clingfilm (see step-by-step guide in the blog post above) to your desired thickness. Then either cut the mini shapes using a pastry cutter, or transfer to a pie dish if making a quiche/pie before blind baking and/or filling. Follow individual recipes for full instructions on whether you need to blind bake or not.
- For a golden pie top, brush the pie lid with a beaten egg before cooking.
Want to put your pastry to use?
Here’s a selection of some of my recipes on the blog where you can use my gluten free shortcrust pastry!
I’ll make sure I keep updating this as I add more recipes to the site, so do bookmark it and keep checking back!
And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!
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