Pâte Brisée (Short Crust Pastry) Recipe

As surprising as it may seem, this is the very first savory crust I make from scratch in my entire life. Before that, I would hop gaily to the nearest grocery store for a ready-made, and conveniently pre-rolled dough.

In truth, savory tarts and quiches had sort of fallen out of fashion in my kitchen, because they are so ubiquitous they just didn’t excite me that much. But my recent return into the world of tartes salées, after more than a year of tragic disaffection, was met with rave reviews (I have kind friends) and converted me back.

So when Marion came for dinner last week, I thought I would make another tart. I could have used the last portion of the hazelnut-thyme dough in the freezer, but I have solemnly promised my neighbor Patricia that I would use it in a tart for her and I am a woman of my word, so that was out.

Instead, I decided to try my hand at a simple, straightforward pâte brisée, and started looking for a recipe. You’d think the world could reach a consensus at least on such a simple question, but oh no. No no no. Every new recipe was different from the previous one, my head was starting to spin, I was on the brink of discouragement (and let me tell you, I have seen more comfortable brinks), when suddenly I saw the light. And in the light, I recognized a familiar, friendly face: it was Pascale! Of course! Pascale was sure to have a reliable recipe for pâte brisée!

And indeed she did, complete with the helpful and thorough instructions she always takes the time to give. And that dough was a breeze to make, so soft and fresh it felt alive (oh my god it is alive!). It proved laughably easy to handle and roll out, and the resulting crust wowed us with its delicately flaky texture and wonderful taste. Merci Pascale!

[As for the tart that was made with the crust, read on!]

Pâte Brisée (Short Crust Pastry) Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Makes enough to line a 25-cm (10-inch) tart pan.

Pâte Brisée (Short Crust Pastry) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 125 grams (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, diced -- cold if using a food processor, at room-temperature if you're mixing the dough by hand
  • 1 large egg
  • a little ice-cold water

Instructions

    If using a food processor:
  1. In the bowl of the food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Run it for about 10 seconds, until you get a breadcrumb consistency.
  2. Add in the egg and mix again until it forms a ball. If the dough is still a little dry, add in a little water, a tiny splash at a time, until the dough comes together. (If you've added too much water, fret not, compensate with more flour.)
  3. Transfer the dough into a bowl, and let rest for a few minutes.
  4. If mixing the dough by hand:
  5. Put the flour and salt in a medium mixing-bowl and form a well in the middle.
  6. Add the diced butter and beaten egg into the well, and rub them into the flour with a pastry blender or the tips of your clean fingers. Add in a bit of cold water as needed to form the dough into a ball.
  7. In both cases, continue:
  8. Roll the dough out on a floured surface, and transfer to a greased 25-cm (10-inch) tart or quiche pan.
  9. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Pascale notes that unlike most recipes suggest, she prefers to let the dough rest after she has rolled it out, because it is easier to handle when freshly made.)
  10. You can freeze the dough at this point if your pan is freezer-safe; wrap in a plastic bag.
  11. Most savory tart recipes call for parbaking the dough: this is called cuisson à blanc in French, and it consists in baking the dough on its own first, because it won't bake as well once the filling is in place. Preheat your oven to 180°C (360°F), take the dough out of the fridge or freezer and bake for 10 minutes (15 if frozen), or until pale golden.

Notes

  • Translated and adapted with Pascale's kind permission.
  • To prevent the dough from rising as it parbakes (a problem that doesn't arise as much when you bake it from frozen), some recipes have you cover the dough with baking parchment and baking beans. But this is sort of a pain (especially when you want to remove those piping hot little beans when the dough is ready) and I have also noticed that the bottom of the dough doesn't bake as quickly as the sides, which can be a problem. Once again, Pascale rushes to the rescue with her own unorthodox (her word) way of doing it, which is to open the oven door and press down on the rebel dough with a (clean) kitchen glove.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/basics/pate-brisee-short-crust-pastry-recipe/

  • http://scally.typepad.com Pascale

    Hi Clotilde,
    Superb post and superb picture. I can’t wait to see the tart now.

  • Erin

    I have become a fan of those metal pie rings, and use them for any sort of crust.
    I am glad you have seen the light about store bought crust. That’s how it all starts you know. Today store bought pate brisee, tomorrow you’re serving little smokies and cheese whiz at your next cocktail party.

  • David

    as per the pun—–GROAN (thanks for the chuckle)

    Cheers
    david

  • http://www.vaguelyspecific.com faith

    I’ve been thinking of tring a Chicken and leek pie of Stephanie Alexander’s and you’ve inspired me to use a home-made pastry! I think I’ll have to give it a try, its a long long time since I’ve made pastry though!

  • anna

    hey! my name is anna and i’m a college student in north carolina. pie pastry is a big deal in my family– the recipe passed down from my grandma to my father and my father to me– and we use iced milk (actual cubes of ice floating in it) in place of the water that most folks use. i’m not sure why this work, maybe to proteins in the milk, but my dad’s pie crust is the crispest, best i’ve ever had! thanks for all the recipes!
    anna

  • Elizabeth

    I was struck by the rolling out of the dough before letting it rest. Images of trying to get the chilled and rested dough to yield to the rolling pin flashed before my eyes.

    Yes! of course, rolling out the dough first would be easier—I can’t wait to try this technique.

    This tip reminded me of last summer when on a visit to the eastern shore of Virginia I stood by the side of the 87-year-old-mother of my boyfriend’s cousin’s sister’s husband (family at last!) and watched as she quickly assembled and rolled out a pie crust. I voiced all the recipe book questions—do you rest the dough after forming it into a disk, do you put the rolled out dough (which has been fitted into the pan) back into the fridge before baking? But she dismissed all my learned-from-the-book queries and rolled out the dough, not worrying about a perfect circle or fancy decorations…or anything.

    The pie was made with fresh blackberries from the yard, and to my taste the filling was too sweet (as so many American desserts are), but it was a terrific experience to stand next to that energetic little white haired woman (who still has a sharp sense of humor.)

    Clotilde, I have been reading your site for several months now—it’s the first thing I go to after my liberal political fix at Buzzflash.com. Very soothing after the dispiriting news in our country.

    I admire your food sense, of course, but I also admire your writing style, so expressive and natural. And to think that English is not your first language.

    Thank you,

    Elizabeth

  • Kirsten

    Clotilde, I’ve been a rather silent (but arden) fan of your website for some time now. I’ve tried some of your desserts and they have all turned out well.

    I have a small favor though it is not really related to your present article. I was wondering whether you could oblige me by translating Pascale’s Lemon Curd recipe for me as I (unfortunately) speak and read nor write no French. Even more unfortunate is that I do not know anyone who can read French. I’m trying to find a good recipe for Lemon Curd.

    I hope you and your friend Pascale don’t mind this rather ‘odd’ request.

    Many thanks in advance – K

  • naf

    Kirsten, you can use these online resources:

    english/french dictionary:
    http://213.161.194.55/mediadico-tv5/asp/dicoweb.asp?NBD=4

    or english/french translator:
    http://traduction.france3.fr/textonly/default.asp

    Not perfect, but help me a lot in understanding recipes.

    naf

  • Stephie

    To Kirsten…

    http://babelfish.altavista.com/ might help as well. (translates text and/or websites… not perfectly, but decent enough)

    And a thank you to Clotilde, for having such a great personality and a great website. :) I look forward to every new post (as anxiously as everyone else!)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kirsten – Actually, Pascale’s recipe is a translation of an English recipe by Delia Smith! She gives the link in her post : http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/r_0000001051.asp 

  • Kirsten

    naf, Stephie and Clotilde – thanks for your overwhelming response. Will check out those websites.

    Clotilde, keep up those tart/quiche recipes as I’m very interested in those. A variation I’ve tried and certainly very rich is salmon, cream cheese, whipping cream, eggs and leek. As it is rich…one slice is more than enough.

    -K

  • http://tofz.org jeremie

    hi Clo!

    glad to see that you made it too into the world of real dough!

    as a fan of salty-tarts as you might know, i dived into it myself a few weeks ago…

    actually, not as talented as you are, i needed 3 tries before getting it right… now i think i got the recipe that suits me, and it involves much less butter as in yours!

    i found experimentally (actually the first one had by mistake twice the suggested quantity, and almost made me tart-sick for the rest of my life!!) that 60-70grams of butter is perfectly enough for 200g of flour! i though have to add an extra spoon of salt to make it right… (plus an extra spoon of sugar for a sugary-tart)

    another handy trick i came up with is the easy-rollo-paper(tm) method (patent pending, you all owe me money just by reading the following!) :

    just put your dough ball (i personnally don’t let it rest) on a sheet of sulfurized paper that is _twice_ the size of your pan… center the ball on one half, then fold the sheet back ontop of it. you can now easily roll it using any kind of instrument (empty red wine bottle in my case), then tear up the upper half of the sheet, and dispose the dough with the lower one in your pan!

    easy, isn’t it?

    the whole process of making the dough, rolling and disposing it now takes me less than 10minutes!

    happy tarting, and all!

    bises

    j

  • Hande

    Do you think one could use the pate brisee de pascale for a savory tarte tatin as well or would there be problems with the dough being on top?

  • Lynne

    If you are going to use this pastry for sweet dishes, if you replace one tablespoon of floor with the same quantity of ground almonds, plus a teaspoon of sugar (any sugar) it is wonderful.

    • Bumdadeebum Davina

      Could I use this pastry for a pumpkin pie? If so, would I need to parbake the pastry before pouring in the filling & baking the pie, or is parbaking not necessary in this case?

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

        You could definitely use this pastry (sweetened as outlined in my previous comment) for a pumpkin pie. For best results, I would recommend parbaking the bottom crust before pouring in the filling. Let me know how it turns out!

  • http://www.gourmettraveller88.com Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88

    Hi Clotides, I made the Pate Brisee with the version from your book and it came out beautifully, I made my first quiche with leek, onion and ham and came out nicely, it was all gone in minutes.
    I have got both of your books and have used the Paris Book alot for my recent trip to Paris. Your layout using arrondisements is particularly useful and user friendly. I have lonely planet with me but did not like the layout at all. Also like very much your writing style.
    BTW, when I went to Bon Marche top level, there is a corner selling some US pdts, and I saw someone that really looked like you but I was not 100% certain. The time I was there was close to shop closing time.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Janet – So glad you liked the recipe and the guidebook, thanks for telling me! It wasn’t me at the Bon Marché, but it could have been. :)

  • http://teenage-baking.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth B

    Hi! I was wondering if you could use this kind of pastry dough for quiche? Or it’s not right… which one would be the right one..
    Thanks !

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You can absolutely use this for quiche. In fact, it’s the ideal dough for it.

  • http://msn diane

    Hello Clotide,
    thank you for the recipe. I’m in love with a crust I see on my culinary institute of America,2004 “baking and pastry” cookbook and wish to figure it out.Wish I could send a picture, It’s like a cookie/biscuit crust & they’re using it for a Fraisier. I’ve been experimenting with different pastry creams in a fraisier also and they seem not to hold well at all. Would like to try gelatin, the flour cream I used didn’t have the right mouth feel to me nor the flavor. Any suggestions also on a day pastry class in Paris in may .Thank you, am enjoying your site

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I wish I could help Diane, but I’m not completely sure what your question is?

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