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Pate Brisee Tested Recipe

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Pate Brisee (pronounced paht bree-ZAY) has a rich and buttery flavor and a crisp and crumbly texture. It is ideal for both sweet and savory pies, tarts, and quiches. Once made, wrap in plastic wrap and it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or frozen for about a month. If frozen, defrost in the refrigerator for several hours, or even overnight before using.

Pate Brisee contains just five ingredients, flour, salt, a little sugar, butter, and water. It has a high ratio of butter to flour which gives the pastry its crumbly texture and buttery flavor. While it can be made by hand, a food processor makes quick work of blending the pastry. Always have the butter and water cold, and try to use a high quality unsalted butter. To start, the flour, salt, and sugar are combined in your food processor. Then cold butter, that has been cut into small pieces, is added. Use the pulse button to process the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. (Do not worry if you have a few large pieces of butter in the flour.) This will only take about 15 seconds. Two problems can occur here. If you over process the butter into the flour, it will cause the butter to coat the flour, which means it will not absorb enough water, causing a fragile dough that breaks apart. On the other hand, if you under process the butter into the flour enough, too much water is needed to bind the ingredients together, which results in a tough pastry because too much gluten was formed. Next, the water is added. About 1/4 - 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) of ice water is needed to bind the ingredients together. Add the water gradually through the feed tube of your food processor, processing just until the pastry starts to come together in clumps. You do not want it to be a solid ball of dough. It is processed just enough that when you press a little of the pastry between your thumb and index finger and it holds together. Then place the pastry on your counter, gather it into a ball, divide in half, and pat each half into about a 5-6 inch (12-15 cm) circle. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, for at least an hour, or even overnight. This allows the gluten in the flour to relax so the pastry will be easy to roll out, and the butter to firm up which reduces sticking and gives us that lovely crisp and crumbly texture. The pastry can also be frozen for about a month. Defrost frozen pastry in the refrigerator for several hours, or even overnight.

Once the Pate Brisee has been chilled until firm, remove one half from the refrigerator, and place it on a lightly floured counter. Now, the tricky part is rolling out the pastry. In order for it to roll out smoothly, without it sticking to the counter or tearing, it has to be at the right temperature. Too cold (it will tear), too warm (it will stick). This "feel" for the dough will come with practice, so don't get discouraged if you have some trouble at first. If the rolled out pastry tears a little, don't worry, just patch it back together as best as you can. Lightly flour your rolling pin and always roll the pastry from the center outwards, turning the pastry every so often, to ensure the pastry is of even thickness. Once it is the desired size, roll the round of pastry loosely around your rolling pin and then unroll it on top of your pie or tart pan. Gently press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of your pan. Trim the edges. It is now ready to use.

 

Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined.  Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).  Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched.  Add remaining water, if necessary.  Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, flatten each portion into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax. At this point you can also freeze the dough for later use.  

For each disk of pastry, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit into a 8 or 9 inch (20 to 23 cm) tart or pie pan. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure it is the right size, take your tart or pie pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than your pan.

When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto the top of your tart or pie pan. Never pull the pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. If using a tart pan, roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. If using a pie pan, flute the edges of the pastry. The pastry is now ready to use.

To prebake the tart or pie shell: With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart or pie pan with pie weights, rice, or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface.  Bake crust for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack. Proceed with desired recipe that calls for a pre-baked shell.

Makes two - 9 inch (23 cm) tart shells.

Pate Brisee Recipe:

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) salt

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) ice water

 
 
     
 

 

 

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