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June 11, 2021

Never Fail Pastry

Hot Water Shortcrust

Prep Time:

10 mins

Cooking Time:

15 mins



An easy pastry that will never let you down. Whether for a sweet or savoury pastry, this recipe works for either. This is a must have in the freezer section of your pantry. Whip up a batch so you will always have a crust on hand.

Never Fail Pastry

Hot Water Shortcrust

A reliable and versatile dough, this melt in your mouth pie crust can carry any filling. Brushed with egg and crusted with salt for savoury or sugar for sweet, this easy to make dough comes together easily and stores well in the freezer. When making a pie sounds daunting, an at the ready crust in the freezer sure makes the job a lot easier.


I'm Kate : )


Thanks for visiting my Swell Kitchen! My lifelong love affair with cooking is shared here, where I will take you to the water's edge as I cook from my seaside home. Stay awhile and enjoy the view : )


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Not Your Mother's Pie Crust Recipe

A flakey, fluffy pie crust was certainly the sign of mastery in my house growing up. Watching my Mother make pie dough was always such a mystery to me then. It seemed like the less she fiddled with the mixture, the flakier it would become. Her recipe called for ice cold butter, lovingly mixed in pea sized pieces into the flour which did seem to take effort, yet the shaggy dough always ended up looking somehow flawlessly smooth and velvety in no time at all. She called it her "Never Fail Pastry". Never fail my foot! I've failed with that recipe dozens of times!

Well, this is not that dough!

If you have the time and the patience, a more complicated dough can certainly be rewarding but in my busy life, I'd prefer a sure thing. This is my Hot Water Never Fail Pastry. Before your eyes, melted, watery butter that looks like barely anything at all will transform into a flakey dough that will stand up to the heaviest of pie fillings. As I knead the piping hot mixture together on my counter, it's impossible to believe that this dough will work since the halo of melted butter left behind would seem to hint at defeat. Do not give up! This dough will never let you down.

Versatile, Reliable and Melt in Your Mouth Good

I think the thing I like best, besides this dough's reliability, is it's versatility. If you are using this dough for a sweet pie, you could increase the sugar to a tablespoon or flavour it with some cinnamon with great results. If you'd like to add more dimension to a savoury pie, you could adjust the salt to be a flavoured salt, like a truffle infused salt or fresh herbs which could add to any meat pie or quiche. Either way, this recipe will hold up to the challenge. I've even used this dough for hand-held pies such as a Cornish Pasty or an Aussie Meat Pie. You can rely on this dough to not leave you with a crumbly mess in your lap.


This recipe lends itself well to freezing. Portion out the fully chilled dough and wrap tightly in cling film. You could toss it in the freezer just like that, but defrosting a thick, dense dough ball will take awhile. It's must faster to roll the fresh pastry out and line a pie dish first, then wrap and freeze it if you have room in your freezer which will save you a step later. But if space is at a premium, just roll the pastry out to whatever shape your freezer dictates and wrap and freeze that way. Then, when you take it out, it will easily defrost on the counter by just coming up to room temperature in an hour or so. You can then finish rolling it out to the shape you need for your recipe.



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Anchor to Recipe

Never Fail Pastry

Hot Water Shortcrust

An easy pastry that will never let you down. Whether for a sweet or savoury pastry, this recipe works for either. This is a must have in the freezer section of your pantry. Whip up a batch so you will always have a crust on hand.



1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

2/3 cup water

3/4 cup butter

2 1/2 cups flour


Step One

Put the water, butter and salt into a wide saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat.

Step Two

Sift flour into a bowl then add all at once to the still very hot water. Mix together to incorporate the ingredients. Once the mixture has come together, turn it out onto a floured board. This will be hot, but knead as best you can until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do not use this pastry right away. Once the dough is finished, wrap it tightly and leave it to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.


If you're anything like me...

... and you like food photography as much as the recipe, here is the entire collection of the shoot for this dish, right here for you. Better yet, pin it! Enjoy!

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