This vegan shortcrust pastry is so good. I mean, really good. Melt in your mouth, try and lick the pie plate good. If you are looking to make the vegan pie or tart of your dreams, here is a good place to start.
This recipe was originally posted January 25, 2021 and updated with ingredients notes, updated process images and tips on November 3, 2022.
Cut my pie in to four pieces. I don't think I could eat eight.yogi berra
I have been finishing up the final testing on my vegan pumpkin pie recipe and I wanted to jump in today to share this easy vegan shortcrust pastry recipe.
Why You Need This Pastry Recipe
Haven't you ever just felt like whipping up a pie? I have. Especially after watching "Waitress" for the fifteenth time. This vegan shortcrust pastry is perfect for those moments.
The pastry is buttery, crumbly and a little bit wonderful. I think you're going to love it. It's super quick, pretty foolproof - don't worry, I self tested 😉 and it's a good all-rounder. I've used it with my salted bourbon pecan pie, and my vegan banana coconut cream pie. It just works, you know? It's:
- Easy to make and comes together simply in a food processor
- Can be made without a food processor
- Vegan, but still buttery and wonderful without any dairy
- Perfect to freeze so you can make pie whenever the urge drives you
- So good, I bake up the excess dough with a little sugar and eat it as is. Don't judge.
- Short and buttery.
What is Shortcrust Pastry?
When people refer to a dough or pastry as short, they mean it has a high fat to flour ratio. Shortbread is the ultimate "short" dough being all buttery and delicious.
Short pastries are rich, a little crumbly and tender with butter. The term "short" only refers to non-yeast doughs, it isn't used to describe brioche or a challah dough. They are usually just described as "dang delicious and wonderful".
There is nothing to making this crust. All is you need is flour, salt, sugar, cold vegan butter and vegetable shortening. A dash of ice cold water will bring it all together.
Flour. Plain old all-purpose flour here. Nothing fancy.
Vegan butter and shortening. Shortening has a high melting point and aids in creating flakiness - you get a flaky, tender, melt-in-your mouth, yummy crust. On the other hand, butter provides that delicious buttery flavour. Even vegan butter!
I've used both to create a crust that is both flaky and richly flavoured.
Sugar. Adding sugar to the flour before adding water helps protect the flour from the water that you’ll add to bring it together, reducing gluten formation. We don't want gluten forming when we're making pie crust. Gluten is for bread, not pie.
Iced water. The colder the better.
Salt. A nice fine salt - we don't want chunks of salt in our pastry.
How to Make Vegan Shortcrust Pastry
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
How do you make a deliciously short vegan pastry? The answer is: pretty easily.
The method is the same as making traditional pastry, we are just swapping out some ingredients.
So, let's do it.
Step 1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
Step 2. Pulse in some chilled vegetable shortening followed with some chilled vegan butter.
Step 3. Add a few tablespoons of ice cold water and bingo, that's the ingredients part done.
Step 4. Tip the dough on to your counter and bring it together to form a disc. Try to "handle" the dough as little as possible, just enough to bring it together (See Recipe Notes). Wrap it in film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Steps 5 and 6: Before using, let it sit out on the counter for 10 minutes to soften before rolling out into a large circle. You need enough to have a good inch hanging over the edge of your pie tin.
Steps 7 and 8: Drape the dough over your rolling pin and lay it over the pie tin allowing the dough to naturally fall in to the tin. Allow the weight of the dough to fill out all the "corners" of the pan. Don't stretch the dough or you'll end up with tears or your baked pie crust might shrink.
Steps 9 and 10: Cut the surplus dough with kitchen scissors leaving about a half-inch over the edge of the pan rim. I tuck my excess dough underneath and then press with the prongs of a fork - nothing fancy. If you are feeling creative, go to town with something prettier.
Pop the prepared crust in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You may need to blind bake it - it will depend on the pie recipe you are working on.
Pro Tips + Recipe Notes
Use Cold Ingredients
When it comes to pie dough, keeping the ingredients as cold as possible is key to creating that awesome flakiness. Once rolled out and folded, the fats in the dough steam creating pockets of air that puff up into distinct layers. Fats that are too warm will combine too well into the flour, making the dough hard to work with and may result in a cracker-like crust. Nooooooo!
Use icy cold water and cold butter.
Handle it Less
Finally, the less you handle your dough with warm hands the better. After processing the ingredients together and tipping the mixture on to the counter, only touch it enough to bring it together into a disc.
Chill The Pie Crust Before Baking
Chilling pie crust dough in the fridge might seem a little counter intuitive given we let it rest again outside of the fridge before rolling. But their is a reason, we're not just being chef-y.
Chilling the dough allows the gluten to relax and the fats to re-solidify resulting in a flakier crust. After rolling out the dough and lining my pie tin, I also pop it back in the fridge. This helps prevents shrinkage.
Source: Tasting Table
How to Chill Vegan Butter
Not all vegan butters are created equal. Even straight from the fridge, some vegan butter just doesn't get "chilled" enough - we want cold blocks here.
My trick is to measure out my butter and then pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes before adding it to my pie dough.
How to Prevent Your Vegan Shortcrust Pastry From Sticking
To help prevent your finished pie crust sticking to your pie pan - been there, done that - lightly dust metal pans with flour before lining it with your raw pie dough. If you are using ceramic or glass pie pans, a little spray of oil may help.
This recipe will make a 9-inch pie with a little left over for decorations or what-not.
Absolutely. You can make pastry by hand just be careful not to handle it too much with your warm mitts.
Using your fingers, rub the shortening and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles rough bread crumbs. Next, sprinkle a little water - a tablespoon at a time - into the mixture and mix with a butter knife, then your hands, until a ball of dough forms with the texture of slightly dry play dough. Form it in to a disc and wrap it in clingfilm to chill.
Totally. This dough is heavier on fat than liquid so it will freeze beautifully with fewer ice crystals forming.
To freeze, make the dough to the point of forming it in to a disc shape. Wrap the disc in cling wrap and then again in heavy duty foil to make sure it is airtight. You can then pop it in the freezer (towards the back so it doesn't form crystals when you open and close the freezer) for up to 3 - months.
To thaw, remove the dough from the freezer and thaw it at room temperature. This will take several hours.
I'm not going to lie, I haven't made this pie crust gluten free but you should be able to swap the flour for something like Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour.
Blind baking a pie crust is pretty simple. It's the process of pre-baking your pie crust without a filling. You will need some baking weights, uncooked rice or uncooked beans and some baking paper to line your pie crust.
I have found the best resource to learn how to blind bake is on Sally's Baking Addiction. Of course is it...the woman is a baking goddess. All of Sally's tips also apply to a vegan pie crust too.
So, that's it - you're ready to make a buttery and delicious pie that is completely vegan friendly.
If you like this recipe, you might like these other pie or pastry recipes:
Want more plant-based goodness?
Vegan Shortcrust Pastry Recipe
- food processor
- 1 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 4 tablespoon vegetable shortening chilled and finely cut into shards
- 4 tablespoon vegan butter cubed and chilled
- 2-3 tablespoon water ice-cold
- Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in your food processor until combined.
- Sprinkle over the shards of vegetable shortening and pulse for around 10 seconds until the mixture looks crumbly.
- Add the butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles chunky sand - sounds delicious, right? ;-).
- Add the ice-cold water to the mixture while pulsing your food processor one tablespoon at a time. You are looking for a dry-ish playdough looking mass (shaggy mass) that will hold together when you pinch it between your fingers. Stop adding water once you have that.
- Turn the dough out onto a bench and bring it together with your hands to form a disc.
- Wrap the disc in cling film and pop it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before use.
- When you are ready to use your dough, pull it from the refrigerator and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it is soft enough to roll out and line your pie pan.