I’ve been making lots of Hand raised pies recently and I’m wondering if it’s possible to do a sweet hot water crust pastry. What I’m wanting to attempt is a Christmassy Hand raised mince pie.

My usual savoury pie pastry recipe for one pie with lid is 150g of plain flour, 33g lard, 50ml water, 1tsp milk and a pinch of salt. I find this amount fits my pie dolly perfectly with no waste.

I’m hoping it will just be as simple as adding some sugar but wonder about the effect of other substitutions? Lard swapped for coconut oil? Adding butter?

Has anyone tried a sweet hot water crust before as I haven't found much online?

  • 2
    Just a guess, but you probably can't add much sugar without changing the consistency. Dropping the salt may help with the sweetness and can't hurt the amount of sugar you can add. I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners but a tiny amount can add a lot of sweetness (if you get the neat stuff rather than sugar substitute, which is mixed with a bulking agent). I believe the type of fat is critical, but don't trust me on that, wait for an expert
    – Chris H
    Dec 5, 2018 at 8:16

1 Answer 1


You can easily add sugar to pie crust dough. In Germany, the formula "3-2-1" doesn't mean "flour-fat-water", it means "flour-fat-sugar". And I believe that I have seen shortbread cookies with even higher sugar ratios. To clarify, you are supposed to use sifted confectioner's sugar, since any larger crystals will have a hard time dissolving.

These doughs are generally made as shortbread (= simple mixing), not as a pate brisee (which is hot water). But I think the French do make sweet pate brisee. Couldn't find a source though, since it seems modern French websites don't care much for the traditional distinction of pate sablee (cold method) and pate brisee (hot water method). Still, I would just go ahead and try it - mix the confectioner's sugar into the dough and see how it works out.

Also, I wouldn't substitute the lard. I love the texture it gives, and I am personally not at all put off by its taste in sweet recipes. I know some people may react to it as weird, simply because they have never encountered the combination, but if you give it a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised.

  • I agree with this answer. Generally hot water pastries are easier for the cook and tolerate minor changes much better than shortcrust pastries. Dec 5, 2018 at 11:14
  • I was thinking of adding sugar to the hot water/lard to help it dissolve. I didn't think of icing sugar! if your saying 3 flour to 1 sugar would that be 50g icing sugar to try? Dec 5, 2018 at 11:48
  • Yes, try it with 50 g. You also have "space" to increase the fat, if you want to play around and see which texture fits you best, right now you are somewhere in the middle between pate brisee and a dumpling.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 5, 2018 at 11:51
  • when I make HWC I tend to leave it for 24 hours in fridge, then shape in, then leave another 24 hours as thats what the pork pie recipes I've had most success with do. will try 50g icing sugar and add some butter with the lard then and see what happens in few days. Dec 5, 2018 at 14:23
  • 1
    tried this today adding 50g Icing Sugar and 25g Butter and omitted salt. The dough ended up much stiffer than usual after chilling (probably the butter) but tasted exactly what I was after once baked so answer accepted and thanks for help. Dec 8, 2018 at 13:15

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