Baker Bettie

Shortbread Crust, Sable Breton

Shortbread crust, also known as sable breton crust, is a buttery pastry used as the crust for pies, tarts, and cookie bars. Learn how to make shortbread crust with this easy recipe! Pin it for Later »

Baked shortbread crust, sable breton, to use for tarts, cheesecake, and cookie bars.

Overview

Skill Level: Beginner 

Shorbread crust, like shortbread cookies, is a buttery, crumbly, and slightly sweet crust used for pies, tarts, and cookie bars. The contrast of the rich and slightly salty crust works perfectly with fillings like cheesecake, lemon curd, or raspberry jam.

What is Shortbread Crust?

Shortbread crust, also called sable breton in French, is a simple mixture of butter, sugar, flour, and salt. The name “shortbread” comes from the high ratio of butter in the recipe. Butter acts as a barrier against gluten formation and actually shortens gluten strands.

Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

  • This crust can be used in place of any pie crust. If the filling will need to be baked after adding it to the crust, follow the instructions to par-bake the crust. If the filling will not need to be baked, make sure the crust is fully cooked and cooled before adding the filling.
  • It is important that the butter is truly room temperature so that it is pliable enough to mix with the other ingredients.
  • The mixture will be very crumbly after mixed. It will hold together when you press it into the pan.

Ingredient Functions

  • Butter adds richness and keeps the crust tender by inhibiting gluten formation.
  • Sugar sweetens the crust and contributes to the structure.
  • Salt & Vanilla flavor the crust.
  • Flour binds the crust together and creates the main structure.
Shortbread Crust, Sable Breton Crust

Shortbread Crust, Sable Breton Crust

Yield: 1 Crust
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This is a recipe for a basic shorbread crust that can be used as a crust for pies, cheesecakes, tarts, or cookie bars. This recipe will work in an 8x8" (20x20 cm) or 9x9" (23 x 23 cm) square baking dish, a 9" (23 cm) pie plate, or a spring form pan. 

Ingredients

For an 8x8", 9x9", or a 9" round pan

  • 1 stick (112 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (65 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup + 2 TBSP (134 gr) all-purpose flour (*see note for gluten free substitution)

For a 9x13" Pan

  • 1 1/2 sticks (168 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (98 gr) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup + 3 TBSP (200 gr) all-purpose flour (*see note for gluten free substitution)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Prepare your pan by lightly oiling or lining with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl or a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix together all of the ingredients at once. The mixture will be very crumbly.
  3. Using damp hands, transfer the dough crumbs into the prepared dish and pat down evenly. Use a fork to dock the dough all over.
  4. Bake on the middle rack at 350 F (177 C). If the filling will need to be baked, par-bake the crust for 20-23 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. If the filling will not need to be baked, bake for 30-33 minutes until the crust is completely cooked and let cool completely.
  5. Use as the crust for lemon bars, cheesecake, ice box pie, fruit bars, etc.

Notes

SUBSTITUTION NOTES:

  • Gluten Free Crust: This recipe works well with a gluten free blend such as Bob's Red Mill's Baking Blend or Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour.
  • Chocolate Shortbread Crust: Substituted 2 TBSP flour with 2 TBSP cocoa powder.

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Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177

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20 comments on “Shortbread Crust, Sable Breton”

  1. ooooh this looks fantastic, I don’t think I’ve ever used a shortbread crust before, I totally need to change that!

  2. This crust is delicious! (I made the lemon bars ) I was wondering if the original recipe would work for tart pan or if I should do 1.5x recipe. What do you think?

  3. This is a very simple, super easy recipe that I used for a short crust for a key lime pie.  I wanted a hint of a toasted coconut flavor and added a couple of pinches of shredded coconut that I toasted, but erred on the side of not adding enough so as not to change the original recipe too much.  Bettie’s recipe is a keeper for me!  Thank you!  

  4. Hi there! This looks great, I’m eager to experiment! Do you recommend letting the crust cool before adding a filling that will be baked? Or just pull it out after 20-23min, fill and return to oven? Also, I saw in the ingredients list that there’s a note RE: gluten-free but couldn’t find it on the page. Would you mind sharing that tip?
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Michelle! If the filling is also baked, you do not need to let it cool before adding. If you are adding a filling that will not be baked, like pastry cream for a tart, then yes you should let it cool. All of my recipes just got transferred to a new platform and a few notes didn’t transfer over. Thanks for letting me know, I will add the gluten free note back in. I have made this with a baking all-purpose blend like Bob’s Red Mills Gluten Free blend and it works out great!

  5. uI don’t know what 1.5 is so could you give the recipe for a 9×13 pan? please thank you

  6. i made this two days ago it was good but i have so many more questions. it seemed to divide my cheese cake. It stuck to the sides of the spring form pan. what if I wanted it softer?

  7. At the top of the directions for a 9×13 pan it gives the measurements and then when you get to the bottom it says for a 9×13 inch pan you should increase the ingredients by 1.5. So which is correct, the measurements underneath where it says for 9×13 or the bottom where it says to increase it by 1.5? I think I’ll just find a different shortbread recipe!

    • Hi Jane. I originally wrote this recipe for a smaller crust as that is what I used it for and gave instructions to multiply the quantities so you could use it for a larger pan. I later edited the recipe to do the math for you to try to be more helpful for those who needed it for a larger pan. I was trying to make it so you didn’t have to do the math yourself. I just forgot to delete the note about doing the math. You will notice the quantities for the 9×13 are 1.5 times the quantities for the smaller batch. I will delete the note. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  8. Thanks for your quick response! I’ll give it a try! 🙂

  9. Could I press this down and cut it out to put in a mini tart pan?

  10. this is an excellent recipe. I have made it several times now. Generally, I bake it, then allow to cool, then crumble and rebake with my filling.  I prefer a soft crust to a hard crust for cheesecakes. If I am making  bars, and I need the crust to be stable to hold the filling, then I will par bake as directed, put in my filling and finish baking. Works great either way. I like to keep the crumbs on hand for “urgent” baking needs. . Store well in sealed container or in freezer. I particularly like that this recipe does not require cornstarch. I have made many variations on this recipe, including using 100% whole wheat pastry flour, add-ins like zest or lavender flowers. Rose or orange water instead of vanilla….chopped nuts….you get the idea. Very versatile. OH. and chocolate powder if I want chocolate shortbread.  Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  11. I want to use this for a peach bourbon pie. The filling needs to be baked an hour. How do I keep the crust from getting overdone?

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