Short crust pastry

Firstly, you need to understand that I am an official anti-talent for desserts. My good friends still remember my “chunk cakes”, cakes that couldn’t stay together but would land onto your plate like a pond. And sadly, such “incidents” didn’t just happen on one occasion. One explanation for my lacking of baking-talent could be the fact that I hate baking. Seriously, I don’t have the delicate touch of making a perfect crumbly tart while the pastry melts before my eyes nor do I have time to do silly but necessary tasks like tempering chocolate or stirring a crème anglaise until my arm falls off. I even had a raw food phase in my life while trying to make different raw cakes, hoping that they were simpler to make since you don’t have to bake them. Guess again. I had made so many raw “chunk cakes”, it ceased to be funny long time ago after the first “chunk cake incident”. Because of all this it is well understandable why I don’t really miss sweets while following the autoimmune protocol.

Still, sometimes I feel like eating a good rhubarb or apple tart with my tea. And for this a short crust pastry is a must. I knew there hat to be a way. There had to be a way of developing a perfect gluten free, egg free, dairy free and on top of that AIP-friendly short crust pastry. I mean it’s the only type of pastry where you don’t necessarily need eggs! Knowing this and keeping in mind that I’m a total sucker for short crust pastry (shortbread fingers with tea anyone?) I started my short crust pastry odyssey. Well not really odyssey since I needed only two trials, but bare with me, I like to be dramatic.

IMG_1045I knew that a good standard short crust pastry measures its ingredients by weight. The only thing I needed to do is replace the standard non AIP ingredients while keeping the measurements by weight. The standard recipe calls for:

  • 150 g wheat flour
  • 100 g butter
  • 50 g chilled water
  • a pinch of salt.

My first test was:

  • 150 g tigernut flour
  • 100 g coconut oil
  • 50 g chilled water
  • a pinch of salt.

The result was, well, tasty. The sweetness of the tigernut flour gave the pastry a nice flavor, but the coconut oil simply wasn’t keeping it together. It wasn’t crumbly and crispy. So I decided to do some tweaks. The coconut oil obviously needed replacing. So I came up with the following second test:

  • 75 g tigernut flour
  • 75 g cassava flour
  • 75 g tallow
  • 25 g coconut oil
  • 50 g chilled water
  • a pinch of salt.

Finally, perfection! A crispy, delicate, crumbly slightly sweet pastry! This one goes really well with my paleo lemon curd. Try it and add some berries on top. Or make my strawberry and rhubarb tart.

Let’s move on to the preparation. First you need to chill the tallow until it’s hard to touch. Then cut it into small pieces and add to other ingredients. Form a fall of dough. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. Then roll it out on a floured surface. Be quick because the more you touch it, the more it will melt. Transfer the rolled out pastry to the greased tart forms (I used four 12 cm tartlet pans). You can also roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper, which makes it easier to lift the dough and transfer it to the tartlet form. Don’t worry if some of the dough breaks during the process, just repair it with your fingers. To blind-bake the pastry, place a small rectangle of baking paper on top of your pastry and fill the form with dried beans. This method makes sure your pastry base stays nice and straight without irregularities. Funnily enough, ever since I’ve been eating paleo, this is the only time I’m using dried beans. Bake your pastry at 200 C (390 F) for 25-30 minutes, depending on the pastry thickness. Watch the edges and don’t let them burn.

Collage_preparationLet them cool to room temperature and fill them as you please. If you’ve made too much pastry (which is always a good idea, since it’s delicious), make shortbread fingers. They are so epic.


Bake them for 20-30 mins, depending on the thickness until golden brown and enjoy them with tea or coffee.


Note that this recipe is written in grams. You can find a conversion chart here.

Short crust pastry
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: four 12 cm tartlet pans
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A crispy, delicate, crumbly slightly sweet short crust pastry. Paleo and AIP-compliant.
  1. Combine the tigernut and the cassava flour and sift the mixture. Add a pinch of salt and then small chilled pieces of tallow. Add coconut oil and combine. Slowly add chilled water and combine to form a dough. Divide dough in 4 balls and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Dust your working surface with tapioca starch and oil the tart forms with coconut oil. Roll 4 balls of dough to a desired thickness (0.5 cm to 1 cm) and fill the tart forms. Refrigerate again for 10 min. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).
  3. Now you need to blind bake the tart shells. Cut a piece of baking paper and place into the tart forms onto the dough. Then fill the tart shells with weights, usually dried beans or pastry weights. Bake for 25-30 min, depending on the pastry thickness. Then remove the weights with the baking paper and continue baking the tart shells for another 5 min. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. If making shortbread fingers, simply form fingers as thick as you like them and bake for 20-30 mins or until golden brown. Let them cool until you enjoy them.
*Tapioca starch is the extracted starch of the cassava root, while cassava flour is the entire root, dried and ground to flour.


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2 Comments on "Short crust pastry"

1 year 7 months ago

Okay, I’m interested in making this, but so far my experience with tigernut flour has been sad and grainy. Like someone dumped sand in my food. I gave a tigernut pancake to my brother and he couldn’t even swallow the first mouthful. Is there something I need to do differently, or am I just going to have to let tigernuts in flour form go if I can’t get past the feeling that I’m eating dirt? It’s such a shame, as the tiger nut flour has a really nice flavor and bakes up well, and has far more fiber than things like arrowroot, which I can’t eat in significant quantity because of impact on my blood sugar.