Making Savory Tart Crust (Pâte Brisée)

This post is all about housekeeping. I’ve received quite a few requests for a pâte brisée recipe lately. I’ve had one on the site for quite a while now, but it’s been filed under “quiche.” This dedicated post on the subject will make it easier to reference.

Pâte brisée is one of the simplest of all crusts, a “short” crust of the type that’s used mostly for savory tarts. It differs from sweet tart crust (pâte sucrée) in that it has no sugar in it. The recipe goes like this:

10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces chilled butter cut into pieces
2-4 tablespoons ice water

First, put half the flour and the salt in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment and turn it on low. Add the butter a few pieces at a time until the mixture looks like so:

Add the rest of the flour…

…and turn the mixer up to medium. When the flour has all been incorporated add two or three tablespoons of water and mix for 30 seconds or so until the dough looks like this:

Pat the dough into a flat patty, wrap it in plastic wrap and and put it in the fridge for an hour. You’ll notice that this process differs from that of a standard pie crust in that the dough is worked a lot more. This is intentional since a flaky crust would tend to leak a when a runny filling like a custard is poured in. This crust is smooth, but because it’s been worked it contains activated gluten and will tend to want to shrink in the oven. Thus you’ll want to rest it at every opportunity.

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2 Responses to Making Savory Tart Crust (Pâte Brisée)

  1. Ramiro Martinez Jr says:

    Dear Joe,

    I tried your recipe but chose a food processor (This might have been my blunder!). I made an Apple Galette, but felt the final product (crust) was too “sandy?”

    I’m not sure if I overworked the dough or if I failed to abide by the “cold laws” of this particular dough, but I didn’t approve. I had hoped for a more stable dough. I noticed that after the over-night rest in the refridgerator, my dought broke too much as I rolled out.

    Your expertise and insights would be greatly appreciated. I’m a fan of Pate sucree but I’ve noticed that the savory crust is soooooo good!!

    Thx!!

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Ramiro!

      That’s too bad about the tart. Most doughs that are this high in butter are hard to work with when they just come out of the refrigerator. Was it any easier to handle once it warmed up a bit?

      - Jim

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