How to make a sweet pastry

How to make a sweet pastry

This sweet pastry recipe by top pastry chef Graham Hornigold will quickly become your go-to method for any sweet tart. Sweet pastry (or pâté sucrée) differs from a traditional shortcrust in that the softened butter is creamed with sugar before adding eggs and flour. This may seem counter-intuitive, especially if you’re used to making shortcrust which sees fridge-cold butter gently combined with flour to form a breadcrumb-like mixture. However, the crumbly nature of shortcrust can make it tricky to work with, which can cause problems when lining a tart tin. Sweet pastry avoids this issue because the creaming of butter and sugar at the beginning allows air to be incorporated, creating a nice light texture that is also slightly easier to work with than standard shortcrust.

As with any pastry, chilling it in the fridge before rolling it out is key – the longer the better. Resting overnight will minimise shrinkage during baking the most, but if you’re short on time just make sure it’s in the fridge long enough to firm up properly and become nicely chilled (at least 30–60 minutes).

  • 250g of unsalted butter
  • 175g of icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 eggs
  • 400g of plain flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
Cream together the butter and sugar very lightly – do not overmix, or you will add too much air to the pastry
Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all the ingredients are uniformly mixed
Add the flour and salt and mix until you have a combined dough. Flatten out slightly then wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling
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