Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte Brisée)

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WHAT'S SPECIAL
What sets shortcrust pastry is its simplicity and adaptability. Made with just a few basic ingredients—flour, butter, salt, and sometimes a touch of sugar—shortcrust pastry offers a delicate balance of flavors and textures. Whether rolled out thinly for a delicate tart shell or pressed into a pie dish for a hearty pie crust, shortcrust pastry provides the perfect canvas for showcasing a wide variety of fillings and flavors.

Shortcrust Pastry

Shortcrust pastry, known as Pâte Brisée in French cuisine, is a versatile and fundamental component in the world of baking. 3 ways to make it: by hand, with a stand mixer or with a food processor.
Uses for Shortcrust Pastry:
Shortcrust pastry finds its way into countless culinary creations, both traditional and modern. Here are some common uses:
Pie Crusts: Shortcrust pastry forms the base and often the top crust of classic pies such as apple pie, pumpkin pie, and quiche. Its buttery richness complements a wide range of sweet and savory fillings.
Tart Shells: Rolled out thinly and baked until golden brown, shortcrust pastry serves as the foundation for elegant fruit tarts, custard tarts, and savory tarts. Its delicate texture provides the perfect contrast to the vibrant fillings nestled within.
Pastries and Tarts: Shortcrust pastry is often used to create individual pastries and tarts, such as hand pies, turnovers, and petit fours. These bite-sized treats are perfect for snacking or serving as a sweet ending to a meal.
Cookies and Biscuits: Shortcrust pastry can be transformed into delicate cookies and biscuits, such as shortbread and Linzer cookies. Its crumbly texture and buttery flavor make it a favorite for holiday baking and special occasions.
Savory Dishes: In addition to sweet treats, shortcrust pastry shines in savory dishes such as pot pies, quiches, and savory galettes. Its flaky crust provides a satisfying contrast to hearty fillings like vegetables, meats, and cheeses.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 dough

Equipment

  • mixing bowls
  • pastry cutter or stand mixer with the paddle attachment or food processor
  • Rolling Pin
  • Tart pan or pie dish

Ingredients
  

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar (for sweet tart/pie - for savory tart, do not add sugar)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) cold and cubed
  • 3-4 tbsp ice water

Instructions
 

MAKING SHORTCRUST PASTRY WITH A STAND MIXER

  • Combine Dry Ingredients:
    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and granulated sugar. Mix briefly on low speed to combine.
  • Add the Butter:
    Add the cold, cubed unsalted butter to the flour mixture in the stand mixer bowl.
  • Mix the Dough:
    Mix the flour and butter mixture on low speed until it resembles coarse crumbs. This usually takes about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the Ice Water:
    With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the ice water to the flour and butter mixture. Continue mixing until the dough comes together into a ball. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Shape and Chill the Dough:
    Remove the dough from the stand mixer bowl and shape it into a disk on a lightly floured surface.Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before using.
  • Roll Out and Use:
    After chilling, the shortcrust pastry dough is ready to be rolled out and used according to your recipe. Follow your specific recipe instructions for shaping and baking the pastry.

MAKING SHORTCRUST PASTRY BY HAND

  • Prepare the Dry Ingredients:
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and granulated sugar. Mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
  • Cut in the Butter:
    Add the cold, cubed unsalted butter to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. This can also be done by rubbing the butter into the flour using your fingertips.
  • Add the Ice Water:
    Gradually add the ice water to the flour and butter mixture, one tablespoon at a time.Gently mix the dough with a fork or your hands until it comes together into a rough ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  • Shape and Chill the Dough:
    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a disk. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before using.
  • Roll Out and Use:
    After chilling, the shortcrust pastry dough is ready to be rolled out and used according to your recipe. Follow your specific recipe instructions for shaping and baking the pastry.

MAKING SHORTCRUST PASTRY WITH FOOD PROCESSOR

  • Prepare Dry Ingredients:
    In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and granulated sugar. Pulse a few times to mix.
  • Add Cold Butter:
    Add the cold, cubed unsalted butter to the flour mixture in the food processor.
  • Pulse to Combine:
    Pulse the mixture in short bursts until the butter is broken down into pea-sized pieces and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Be careful not to over-process.
  • Add Ice Water:
    With the food processor running, gradually add the ice water through the feed tube. Continue pulsing until the dough starts to come together. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  • Check Dough Consistency:
    Stop pulsing when the dough begins to clump together. It should hold together when pinched but not be overly wet or sticky.
  • Shape and Chill the Dough:
    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a disk.Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before using.
  • Roll Out and Use:
    After chilling, the shortcrust pastry dough is ready to be rolled out and used according to your recipe. Follow your specific recipe instructions for shaping and baking the pastry.

Notes

  • Whether making the dough by hand or with a stand mixer, it's important to keep the ingredients and the dough itself cold to ensure a flaky crust.
  • Avoid overmixing the dough, as this can lead to a tough crust. Mix the dough just until it comes together and then stop.
  • Chilling the dough before rolling it out helps relax the gluten and makes it easier to handle. It also prevents the butter from melting too quickly during baking, which is essential for a flaky crust.
Keyword Pâte brisée, Shortcrust pastry, Tart Dough

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