Sweet French Pastry Dough (Pâte Sucrée)
Pâte Sucrée, pronounced (pat-sue-cray), is a French pastry dough commonly used as a base for tarts. Sweet and tender the taste and texture reminds one of shortbread or sable cookies. Sturdy enough to handle even the heftiest of fillings it is a simple blend of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. Generally made via the creaming method: sugar and butter are creamed together and then the eggs and flour are blended in, the addition of the eggs yields a strong cookie like crumb that will hold liquid fillings without leaking. There are several schools of thought on the most traditional way to make Pâte Sucrée here is a recipe that utilizes the standing mixer but can also be made in the food processor. This may not be the most classic method but it certainly works and is my current favorite.
1 large egg yolk
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
In a small bowl combine egg yolk, cream, and vanilla. In a standing mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy, 1–2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, cream mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. With the motor running, slowly add flour; mix until dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and grabbing either side, push the dough together until it forms a cohesive lump. Wrap up, and form into a flat disk. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about an hour and up to four days prior to using.
Lining a Tart Pan
Remove the Pâte Sucrée dough from the refrigerator, and roll out between two large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Parchment paper is easier to handle but nothing keeps crumbly dough together better than plastic wrap. If chilled properly this crumbling should not be an issue, but on an especially hot and humid day sometimes dough can be temperamental and in those cases, plastic wrap is your best friend. It holds the crust together when rolling and transferring into pans and tart rings.
Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling over the pan. Work around the circumference, easing it into the pan and pressing it firmly into the corners. Use a paring knife to trim off the edges. Set the pan onto a baking tray and freeze for 30 minutes before filling or baking.
Bring oven up to 375℉. Line your tart shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Set your tart shell on the center rack and bake for 30 minutes. Rotating the shell after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove parchment and pie weights. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5-8 minutes. Remove the tart from the baking sheet and set on a rack to cool.
–Makes enough for one 9″ tart pan, or six 3″ tart rings.
How we’re using Pâte Sucrée