Shortcut pastry is the workhorse of the pastry world, providing a firm base for pies, quiches and savoury tarts. Luckily, it is an easy dough to master and nothing you can buy will ever taste like the shortcrust you make at home.

540 g



Skill level

Average: 4.5 (3 votes)

This is the pastry you'll use for our chicken curry pie.


  • 90 g (3 oz) water
  • 10 g white vinegar
  • 320 g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 10 g table salt
  • 110 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Refrigeration time: 1 hour

Combine the water and vinegar in a jug. Put the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat the butter into the flour, mixing until you have pea-sized lumps of butter. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the combined water and vinegar, and mix until the dough just comes together. You don’t want any dry pieces, but you need to be careful not to overwork it. You can add a bit more water if you have any dry clumps, but don’t let the dough get sticky.

If you are mixing the dough by hand, combine the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl and toss through the chilled butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until just combined and you still have pea-sized lumps of butter visible. Tip the mixture out onto the bench. Slowly pour the combined water and vinegar over the top, using the heel of your hand to work the mixture into a dough. Push it away from your body and then gather it together with both hands. Repeat this a few times until it all comes together and no flour is visible.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before using. If it’s wrapped well, savoury shortcrust will keep for a week in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer.



• This dough will set hard as it contains lots of butter, so take it out of the fridge at least an hour before using, so it’s easy to roll. You want the pastry to be malleable without being too soft. Having a few streaks of butter visible in the finished dough will result in a flaky texture once baked.


Photography by Bonnie Savage.

This recipe is from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $60) and is available in stores nationally.