Puff pasty, fillo pastry and shortcrust pastry: What’s the difference?

Pastry ... what's all the puff about?
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Want to know what is the difference between sweet puff pastry and short crust pastry? And what the pastry can be used for?

We’ve got you covered.

Puff pastry can generally be described as flaky, light and buttery, good for pies and pastries, while shortcrust pastry has a more crumbly, biscuit-like texture which is good for tart or quiche cases.

Sweet puff pastry is literally puff pastry with sugar added to it, while sweet shortcrust pastry is not commercially available.

When making a pie, many cooks use shortcrust on the bottom and puff pastry for the lid.

Keep on scrolling for a full breakdown of each type of pastry and what they should be used for.

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Pastry - What's all the puff about?

Confused about pastry? Keep scrolling to read our handy beginner’s guide.

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Puff pastry

Puff pastry is best for pastries, sausage rolls, sweet or savoury pies, turnovers and palmiers.

It is usually made with canola or a vegetable oil.

Butter puff pastry is puff pastry made with butter instead of the vegetable oil and no sugar.

Whether you use normal puff pastry or butter puff pastry is entirely a matter of personal preference.

Sweet puff pastry is puff pastry made using sugar. In Australia, it is not available ready-made. It is used in sweet recipes that require a flaky, buttery pastry such as a sweet pie.

Shortcrust pastry

Shortcrust has a slightly biscuity, crumbly texture that is resistant to soaking up fluids so is perfect for quiches, tarts, samosas and other savoury delights with wet fillings or those that are not being served immediately.

It is surprisingly sturdy when removed from its tin.

Plain shortcrust is usually used for savoury fillings but can be a good counterpoint to very sweet fillings too so it is an all-purpose option.

Pate sablee is a sweetened shortcrust pastry, though more like a biscuit dough, in that butter and sugar are beaten together before the flour and liquid are added. The word sablee means sandy or grainy and this effect is sometimes enhanced by the addition of ground almonds.


Filo is wafer thin and crunchy and brown when cooked.

Use filo when a light, crunchy pastry is required, like a spinach pie, or where it will receive a good soaking in a syrupy liquid such as when making baklava.

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Choux has very specific uses such as for making eclairs, croquembouche and choux buns.

When baked, it transforms into light-as-air puffs with hollow pockets perfect for filling with cream or chocolate.

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