Perfect Pastry Recipes

We know making pastry requires a certain skill set. Follow our easy step by step guide to all your favourite pastry recipes and it will be as easy as well…pie!

How To Make Shortcrust Pastry


  • 225g plain flour 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 110g chilled butter cut into pieces
  • 3 tbsp chilled water 
  • A little amount milk for glazing

By hand

The preferred method for many pastry-makers, as you can ‘feel’ the pastry coming together.

1. Sifting

Sifting isn’t essential, but most pastry-makers do sift their flour and salt together at the start of a recipe. Use a wide-topped bowl and, if it’s a hot day, chill both bowl and flour before use.

2. Rubbing in fat

Chop your chilled fat (usually butter, though your recipe may also use lard) into 1cm cubes. Add these cubes to the bowl and toss to coat them in flour. The fat must be cold when you add it as it needs to be rubbed into the flour without melting. Using your fingertips – the coolest part of your hands – rub the fat into the flour. Lift your hands out of the bowl to rub and then drop the crumbs back into the bowl; repeat until your mix has the texture of breadcrumbs.

3. Adding liquid

If the recipe calls for it, add lemon juice to water before adding to the pastry mix. Mix in using the fingertips of one hand, to avoid overworking the dough. Very cold water is best – chill in the fridge or freezer beforehand. Use the amount stated in your recipe, but you can always add a little more if necessary: you should have just enough liquid to moisten the dry ingredients.

4. Kneading

When the dough sticks together in small clumps, form it into a ball. Turn it out onto a cold surface then knead very gently until the ingredients are gathered together and almost smooth. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Test by rolling a small piece of pastry out – if it cracks easily, it will need a little more kneading to develop the gluten.

5. Resting

It’s important to rest and chill your pastry dough for about half an hour before baking: this firms up the fat and lets the strands of gluten relax, both of which will improve the end result. Pat it into a flat shape, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge. If it’s left for longer than 30 minutes it may be hard to roll out – in which case just let it stand for a while at room temperature to soften and then try again.

Using a food processor

Food processors are useful as they help save time and effort when mixing the ingredients together, but you will still have to knead your pastry be hand. 

1. Processing

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and then the fat, cubed as above. Pulse until the fat has barely cut through the flour. Do not leave the processor on unattended as this will overwork the dough and bring the ingredients together too soon.

2. Adding liquid

Add liquid to the bowl and pulse again until the ingredients have been mixed into a ball then remove the dough from the processor.

3. Kneading and resting

Knead the dough as in step 4 of the ‘By hand’ method, and then rest in the fridge as before. Don’t worry if your processed dough looks smoother than handmade: this is because the processor distributes the fat more evenly through the flour.

How To Make Flaky Pastry


  • 225g plain flour 
  • 80g lard 
  • 80g unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • A pinch of salt

1. Preparing initial dough

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dice butter (and lard, if your recipe calls for it) into small cubes 5-10mm square and place in a separate bowl. Add one quarter of the diced fats to the dry ingredients and rub in with your fingertips.

2. Adding liquid

Add any lemon juice required by your recipe to very cold water and mix lightly into the rubbed-in mixture, using one hand, to form a very soft dough.

3. Adding extra fat

Roll the dough out into a rectangle and dot the remaining cubes of fat over two-thirds of the dough. Fold the empty top third down over the centre of the dough, and then fold the bottom fat-covered third up over it to create an envelope. Seal the edges by pressing down with your fingertips.

4. Rolling and folding

Turn your dough envelope through 90° and roll out again into a similar size rectangle as before. Again, fold the bottom third up and the top third down over it, pressing the edges down with your fingers. Repeat this rolling and folding twice more. If your pastry starts to soften at any point of this process, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for about half an hour before removing and continuing.

5. Resting

Wrap your finished dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before removing, rolling out and using.

How To Make Rough Puff Pastry


  • 250g strong plain flour
  • 250g butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml cold water

The key to a good puff pastry is to chill both dough and butter before bringing them together. If the butter becomes too soft, it will ooze out as you roll and fold, and if the dough gets too warm it will stick and become difficult to work. Using a high-gluten bread flour will help give the pastry the strength needed to maintain all the thin layers.

1. Making the dough

Mix flour and salt in a bowl and add enough chilled water to make a tight but kneadable dough. Turn out and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth, then form into a rectangle, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 7 hours.

2. Preparing the butter

Bash your chilled butter with a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin, roughly rectangular sheet, then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge.

3. Combining the butter and dough

Take the chilled dough and roll into a rectangle. Lay the chilled butter sheet over the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Fold the exposed dough down over half the butter and then fold the butter-covered bottom half over the top, creating a sandwich of three layers of dough with two layers of butter. Seal the edges by pressing them together with your fingertips, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.

4. Rolling, folding and chilling

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into a long rectangle, then fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up so they meet in the middle, then fold in half along the line where they meet. Rewrap and return to the fridge for an hour then remove, roll into a long rectangle, fold the top third down and fold the bottom third over it. Press the edges to seal. Rewrap and return to the fridge for another hour. Repeat this last stage of rolling, folding and chilling – your pastry will then be ready to use.

How To Make Choux Pastry


  • 225ml milk
  • 115g butter
  • 142g all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs

1. Heating ingredients

Put your cubed butter, salt and milk into a large saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Once melted, bring the mixture briefly to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as it starts to boil and then add the flour.

2. Beating

Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it thickens and you can form a smooth ball of dough, leaving the sides of the pan clean. Transfer into a cool bowl and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then add beaten eggs one at a time, beating them into the dough vigorously. Stop adding egg if the mixture starts to loosen, but otherwise carry on adding until your dough forms a stiff, glossy paste.

3. Shaping

Pipe or spoon your mixture into moulds to make puffs, buns, profiteroles or eclairs, then place in a hot oven (about 200°C) as quickly as possible.

4. Cooling

After removing from the oven, transfer your crisp, golden pastries to a cooling rack and split one side of each open, allowing steam to escape to prevent the pastry becoming soggy. Cool on a wire rack and only add your cream or chosen filling once fully cooled.