Easy as Pie – Shortbread Crust
With Shortbread Crust, it’s like you are eating a cookie and a pie at the same time. Shortbread crust is buttery, dense-yet-crumbly, sweet (but not too sweet!), and is the best crust recipe for any tart.
If you are intimidated by homemade crust, start with this shortbread crust.
This is the easiest pie crust there is to make!
Whereas flaky, pastry-style crusts like Whole Wheat Pie Crust take some time to master, shortbread crust is a cinch.
Can you make cookies? You can make shortbread pie crust!
Shortbread crust is simple to prepare, and is made of what all baked goods should: butter, flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla, with a little water and a pinch of salt.
What to Make with Shortbread Crust
Shortbread crust is a great starter for so many desserts and flavors.
From chocolate to fruit, you can fill a shortbread crust with any of your favorite pie fillings (my choice: Cherry Pie Filing). You really can’t go wrong.
Tarts. Lemon Tart is my favorite way to use this shortbread crust, and you could also make Vegan Chocolate Tart.Pies. You could make any no-bake pie with this shortbread crust baked in a pie plate. The filling from this Lemon Cream Pie, Strawberry Pie, or Vegan Chocolate Pie would all be fabulous.Cheesecake. Shortbread crust makes a tasty substitute for the traditional graham cracker crust, providing buttery, crumbly contrast to the airy cream cheese filling. Try this Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.
How to Make Easy Shortbread Crust
Unlike traditional pie crusts, shortbread crust requires no fiddling with pastry cutters, pie weights, or parchment paper.
The process for shortbread crust couldn’t be easier.
Stir everything together (no need to bust out the food processor!)Press the crust dough into a pie dishBake! That’s all it takes.
It’s ready in under 30 minutes total time.
Butter. What makes this shortbread is plenty of the good stuff.Powdered Sugar. Use confectioners’ sugar over granulated to keep it so soft.Flour. I like to swap in a portion of whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour for adding a little nutrition to my desserts. It’s an undetectable difference that adds in some protein and fiber. You can use entirely all-purpose flour if you prefer.Salt. Kosher salt balances the sweetness.Vanilla. Pure vanilla is the holy grail of any baked good.Water. A tablespoon of water makes the shortbread crust the proper consistency.Lemon Zest. Optional, but adds a delightful brightness.
Combine all the crust ingredients in an eclectic stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a large mixing bowl and spatula).
Mix until a dry cookie-dough-like mixture forms.
Press shortbread crust dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan and trim any overhanging excess.
Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes. Bake shortbread crust at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then use as desired. ENJOY!
To Store: Shortbread pie crust can be stored at room temperature. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out.To Freeze: You can freeze shortbread dough before baking it or after baking it. Tightly wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Before using, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Stand Mixer Spatula Paddle Attachment. With this handy attachment, you do not need to separately scrape down the sides of your bowl.Removeable Bottom Tart Pan. This 9″ tart pan makes serving tarts easy.Spatula. This set will fold, scrape, scoop, and serve.
If you’re going to expend the effort to make a homemade dessert, let’s take just one more step and skip the store bought crust.
In this case, making the crust yourself is EASY and well worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shortbread cookies are slightly different from shortbread pastry. Shortbread cookie dough has the highest ratio of butter to flour of other cookie doughs, so it is nice and buttery like shortbread crust; however, shortbread cookies have more sugar in them than shortbread crust so they can be a standalone dessert. Neither has eggs or egg yolks, so the dough does not get too wet.
Shortbread has a higher ratio of butter to flour, making it denser and more crumbly than pie pastry dough. Pie crust is light and flaky. Pie crust requires cutting in chilled butter and then rolling out the dough, and longer chilling time than shortbread crust.
Shortbread has a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture, while being slightly crisp when you bite into it. Think of it like a perfect cookie, but bigger.
Use room temperature butter. Traditional pie crusts have you use ice cold butter, but that is not the case for shortbread. Additionally, pay attention to how long you are mixing it. When the dough is pressed together with your fingers, it should hold together, but will look like a dry cookie dough.
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TO FREEZE: You can freeze shortbread dough before baking it or after baking it. Tightly wrap and keep in freezer for up to 3 months. Before using, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.