How to make Hot Water Crust Pastry

How to make Hot water Pastry!

I have made hot water crust pastry on numerous occasions, all to great success. It is fool proof to make, rolls out like a dream without cracking, is pliable and easy to mould into any shape and best of all does not need to be blind baked. It is a soft pastry yet has a crisp exterior. It is extremely versatile and in a pinch will work for nearly any pie or tart, both sweet and savoury. And if I have forgotten to say it is also very easy to make and very delicious to eat.

Hot Water Crust Pastry consists of three main components: Flour, fat and liquid. The traditional fat used is lard and the liquid is simply water. Many recipes use butter, or a mixture of butter and lard. Milk is often used in this pastry too. Egg is sometimes even added to enrich the dough and a pinch of salt is nearly always in there. I don’t add egg to my pastry as it is likely to scramble when you add the hot water and fat mixture which causes specks of egg throughout the dough. I also add butter to my pastry for flavour.

There are countless different recipes for Hot Water Crust Pastry. I find it odd how one recipe can tell you to use 100 g fat and another uses 200 g fat, yet both use the same quantity of flour and water. So, by some very simple calculations, I worked out the percentage of fat and water contained in many different recipes for this one pastry.


Larousse Gastronomique, which is my go to book for most recipes, has a 63% fat-water content. Delia Smith’s recipe has a 55% fat-water content and Andy Bates, a.k.a the pie man, has two different recipes for this pastry. One vegetarian version (without lard), which has a 75% fat-water content and the other recipe has a 82% fat-water content.


I tried both of Andy Bates recipes, and to be honest couldn’t taste much of a difference. So I spit it down the middle and went for a 78% fat-water content. Ms. Beeton and Richard Bertinet, whose recipe this one is loosely based upon, also both go for a 78% fat-water content so I felt that percentage was justified.


Once you decide on your recipe, you can then begin your pastry. It is a bit of an oddball in the pastry world and you definitely don’t need cold hands to make it. The fat and liquid are brought to the boil and then mixed into the flour to form a dough. The hot dough is then left in the bowl to cool for about 1 hour.


After an hour cooling, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flattened into a rough rectangle. Take one side of the dough into the centre and press down with your fingers.


Then lift up the other side of the dough and bring it over the top.


Press down the dough with your fingers once again.

Repeat this folding twice. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and place onto a baking tray. Cover it with clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
And that is it, this pastry is the perfect casing for meat pies, hand raised pies and most importantly pork pies, which will be my next post. It is also a great pastry for enclosing a gorgeous brisket stew which is slowly cooked in Guinness and beef stock, which is exactly what the pie below was and made one of the nicest dinners, and next day’s lunch, ever.



500 g flour
200 ml water
120 g butter
70 g lard
1 level teaspoon salt


  1. Place the flour into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the water, butter, lard and salt into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring as the fat melts. Once it comes to the boil, take the pan off the heat and pour it the bowl with the flour.
  3. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rest and cool for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a rectangle.
  5.  Fold the dough into thirds by taking one side of the dough into the centre and pressing down with your fingers.
  6. Then lift up the other side of the dough and bring it over the top. Press down again with your fingers.
  7. Flatten the dough out again into a rough rectangle and repeat the same process once more.
  8. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and place onto a baking tray. Cover it with clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  9. The dough is then ready to be rolled out and used in your preferred recipe.



31 comments to How to make Hot Water Crust Pastry

  • Bob Pattison  says:

    Recipe sounds good but like, ahhh, how much does the above make? 1 pie shell? 2 maybe 3?

    • evanoc  says:

      Well pointed out Bob! I often forget to include these types of important details in my recipes. Obviously it will depend on the size of the tins, but it would be plenty to make 1 large pie (base and covered with pastry) or about 8 individual pies for 1 person. However I don’t use it to make pie shells that you would use for, say, sweet pastries. It is the perfect pastry for filling with something like a stew as the pastry will absorb some of the liquid and stay soft. It goes overly hard when baked without a filling however so I wouldn’t use it for that purpose.

  • Irene  says:

    Can you tell me what sort of flour to use. Should it be strong flour as in bread or lighter cake flour? I used all purpose last time and the crust was very hard.


    • evanoc  says:

      Hi Irene, I wouldn’t use a high gluten flour that you would use for bread as it will make tougher pastry. A lighter cake flour would probably make a very good pastry however I always use a plain or all purpose flour for my hot water crust and it makes a very good pastry. Plain flour shouldn’t give a hard crust rather there is likely another cause for this such as overworking the pastry, not using a filling with sufficient moisture, baking the pastry at too high a temperature or some other reason. Can you tell me what was the pastry used for (such as the filling in it) and I might be able to give you a better solution to your problem. Thanks for the question Irene and if you have any other questions feel free to ask,

  • David Scott  says:

    From past experience I reckon there would be enough pastry to comfortably make two 1 lb pork pies. I shall have a go, I usually make 3 at a time so will add 50% to the quantities and I will report back.

    Regards < David.

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Nice one David, Ya I’d say your dead right it would easily make two 1 lb pork pies alright. Have a look at my pork pie recipe if you haven’t already seen it too and do report back I’d love to hear how you fare.
      All the best,

  • Jeaan Wickens  says:

    Thank you so much. I have tried several recipes and this is by far and away the best. The cooled pastry is so easy to handle and moulds beautifully. It cooks to a crisp finish and after many attempts I managed to produce the most ‘shop like’ pork pies ever. We live in Cyprus and it is not easy to buy pork pies in the shop. My husband was delighted!

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      I’m delighted the recipe worked out for you Jean and thanks a million for the comment. It’s always nice to hear from someone who has tried one of my recipes, especially when it turns out well.
      All the best,

  • Spike  says:

    Could I make a tall pie with meat and potato with this pastry ?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Absolutely, there is plenty of pastry in this recipe to make a big pie to feed a whole family.

  • sheila  says:

    Can you give me a recipe as easy as Hot Water Pastry to use for a pie crust? No matter whether I use a processor, mixer or my hands, I can never get the pastry right!!

    Thanks for any help.


  • Roddas  says:

    When I’ve made the pastry, how long can I keep it in the fridge in case I don’t use it all in one day? – By the way, Love the website and the recipes.

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hi Rod,
      It will sit no bother for a week in the fridge. Just bring it back to room temp before using.
      All the best,

  • Maggie  says:

    where I live in Sri Lanka I cannot buy lard, is there another substitute that I could use?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hi Maggie,
      Nice to see I have a reader from Sri Lanka, thanks for the comment. Lard is not essential, any fat should work for this recipe. I would recoomend using all butter in place of the lard. Best of luck with it and let me know how you fair,
      Evan x

  • Raqeebah  says:

    Could I make samosas with this pastry? Is it suitable for deep frying?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hmmm…Good question, not sure to be honest. Would not think so though, it would probably not cook quick enough and may lead to doughy samosas i’d say.

  • Roy Burton  says:

    I’ve just used this recipe to make a large pork and veal pie with eggs in the middle. It’s in the oven now. I used a french split mild which my mother used to use only at Christmas. If it releases OK I’ll send a photo.

  • Alex  says:

    Can boiled pastry be made the day before and stored in the fridge, brought to allow to get to room temperature?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hi Alex, absolutely it can. It will last in the fridge for days and will still be great in fact. Thanks for the comment, Evan

  • Adele bale  says:

    Hi im kind of new to all this cooking im ashamed to say, due to illness, so it has come to me later in life such as gardening but am very willing to learn. I was quite interested in with this pastry Mix to make a chicken and leek pie, however is there too much pastry not enough pastry and can you suggest some extra ingredients to go with the Pie if this us suitable. Many thanks Adele Bale

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hi Adele,
      For sure this pastry will be suitable to make a large pie to feed 8 – 12 comfortably with some probably left over for again. Also check out my chicken pie recipe here.

  • Diane Ugo  says:

    I’ve become very intrigued by this pastry. When you talk about 78% fat – water content, What is that in relation to?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hi Diane,
      What that means is that 78% of this pastry is a water/fat emulsion. In other words its 78% wet ingredients.

    • David Manton-Hall  says:

      To clarify further, it is in relation to the weight of the flour and not the total weight of all ingredients. So if you consider the flour being 100%. it means the water/fat emulsion is 78% of that flour weight.

      • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

        Yes exactly. It’s used very often by bakers to compare recipes, it’s known as bakers percentage. It can be confusing as it is different than the percentage you learn in math but it’s very effective!

  • Nigel Douthwaite  says:

    What temperature should hot crust be baked at?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Fairly low temperature Nigel, depend on filling but say 150 or 160 thereabouts

  • Coral Atkins  says:

    I’ve just made this pastry and I am using a mince in gravy filling which is already cooked. How long does the pastry take to cook?

  • Sandi Beaumont  says:

    Hi Evan,
    I live in Ecuador at around 6000ft above sea level. Cooking is always difficult made even more so by the lack of some ingredients. On this occasion it’s lard, so I was wondering whether it would be possible to use only butter? Also as I’m trying a gluten free diet at the moment what do you think about a mix of quinoa and flax seed flours?

    • Evan O' Ceallaigh  says:

      Hi Sandi,
      Yes you can use only butter and it will be a very nice pastry. When it comes to gluten free, honestly, I’m a novice. I’ve made one or two gluten free breads and they have been pretty horrible to say the least.

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