Pâte Brisée is a classic French pastry which is so versatile it is ideal for both sweet and savoury tarts, pies, and quiches. It is basically your new number-one-go-to-pastry for all your pastry case and pie crust needs.
Pâte Brisée is very similar to shortcrust pastry, with a 1/2 fat to flour ratio and the ability to be used for sweet and savoury recipes. Pâte Brisée differs with the fat being all butter (shortcrust is often a mixture of butter and lard) with the addition of egg yolk to enrich the pastry and help create that extra delicious, golden brown colour during cooking,
Making any pastry, regardless of whether it’s Pâte Brisée, is a little like chemistry, you have to follow the recipe precisely, from start to finish, using exact measurements for consistent and successful results everytime. Due to the high fat content in Pâte Brisée I like to make it in a machine, to keep our hot hands away from the pastry and the butter as cold as possible. But if your a stickler for classic techniques, you’ll be please to hear that you can still make this pastry by hand, you are just going to have to be a little careful. Check out our Pâte Sucrée recipe to see how to successfully use this technique, step by step, and then come back and apply it to this recipe.
As with all pastries, there are a few rules you will want to follow to ensure perfect pastry success. Check out my “Ultimate Pastry Proficiency Guide” down below to make yourself a master!
Try it with any of your favourite fillings, like our Cherry Bakewell or Egg Custard Tart. Make a traditional apple pie, or if that doesn’t float your boat try, making a bacon and cheese packed quiche or a decadent pecan pie. What I’m trying to say is that Pâte Brisée is going to be your new favourite pastry, so you better get cracking and start making your first lot ASAP!
— Al Brady
2 egg yolks
Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the butter and mix together on a slow speed until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and the egg yolks to the flour and butter mixture. Continue to work the pastry mixture in the machine on a slow speed until it start to come together.
Place the pastry onto a board and continue to work with your hands until it forms a ball of dough – the dough must be smooth and pliable, not at all crumbly. Once the pastry has come together, wrap tightly in clingfilm and chill for 1 hour.
Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and place on a lightly floured board. Lightly tap the pastry with a rolling pin to soften it, while still keeping it cool. When the pastry is pliable but still cold, roll the dough gently in one direction, rotate the dough 45 degrees, and roll again. Continue to repeat this process, lightly flouring the board and pastry as necessary to prevent the pastry from sticking, until the dough is about 5mm thick.
Check that your pastry has been rolled large enough to come up the sides the tin you are using. Roll up the pastry on to the rolling pin, to lift it up, and gently unroll over the top of the pastry case, being careful not to touch the tin with the rolling pin or you will cut through the dough. Gently ease the pastry into the base of the tin, lifting the edges to avoid tearing, and press the pastry firmly into the sides of the tin. Remove the excess pastry by rolling over the top of the tin with the rolling pin, cutting off any pastry hanging over the edges. Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork, to allow air to escape during cooking: keeping the base flat, and chill the pastry case, uncovered for 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans and bake blind for about 15 minutes. Remove the baking beans and the paper, brush the pastry case with egg wash and return to the oven to dry out the pastry case, until a light golden brown colour. Put the tin on a wire rack until read to use.
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When it comes to pastry, don’t expect to be a master overnight! Practice makes perfect!
So here are a few tips to help you on your way to ultimate pastry proficiency!
KEEP YOUR HANDS HIGH
When rubbing the butter into the pastry make sure to keep the fat as cold as possible. If the butter is too soft, you run the risk of the fat melting during the rubbing in stage, resulting in an oily dough that’s difficult to work with.
DON’T FORCE IT
Don’t force the dough together too soon. Continue to work the pastry until the dough starts to come together. If you force the dough together while still in a breadcrumb like state then the end result will be a crumbly dry pastry, almost impossible to roll.
Avoid over-working the dough. More mixing than necessary will cause the gluten to develop, making the dough difficult to work with and producing a tough crust.
Roll the dough gently and gradually, ensuring an even thickness so the pastry cooks evenly. Flour and turn the pastry as necessary in order to prevent the pastry sticking.
Chill the pastry thoroughly after forming the dough and shaping the dough. This will help combat the shrinking effect that occurs when the pastry is cooked. It will also set the butter in the dough properly preventing it from melting out when being put in the oven.