Pâte brisée, or shortcrust pastry, is a half butter to flour dough that creates a perfectly flakey and buttery crust. Add a higher proportion of butter, or an egg yolk, for an even richer version that will complement a sweet preparation. If you fancy a savoury dish, integrate some chopped herbs into the dough. This simple pâte brisée recipe will change your life. Seriously, I promise. Usually petrified of attempting any kind of real pastry – it’s far too scientific for this Classicist – I recognise its vital importance: Life is short, eat dessert first.
(Makes enough for 1 double-crusted 9 inch pie,
or, 2 single crusted 9 inch pies)
320 g all purpose flour
227 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
7-8 tbl ice water
- Blend the flour, butter and salt together with your fingers until coarse and crumbly with only small pea-sized lumps of butter.
- Drizzle 4-5 tbl ice water all over the mixture and bind together with your hands. Add more water, a 1/2 tbl at a time as necessary.
Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will become tough.
- Divide the dough into 4 portions and smear with the heel of your hand in order to distribute the fat (butter) evenly.
- Take 2 portions together and roll into a ball. Then, flatten the dough into a 5 inch disk. Repeat with the other 2 portions.
- Wrap the two disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm (Dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for 3 months)
- When needed, unwrap the dough and roll out to the desired shape and size on a floured surface.